Duke is already flawed to start this season.
We found out Monday that Harry Giles had his left knee scoped, leaving him unable to play for about six weeks, according to Duke. Giles was as five-star prospect, a player many consider(ed) to be the most talented in his high school class.
He's a projected lottery pick, but now his chances of going No. 1 overall in the 2017 draft are narrowing.
For most teams, losing a talent like Giles to start the season would be a sizable setback. Duke is not most teams. This is one of the more stacked rosters of Mike Krzyzewski's Hall of Fame career. In fact, there are three Blue Devils not named Giles who are projected first-round picks, two in the lottery.
Let's look at how they might be affected with Giles out.
JAYSON TATUM (Projected draft range: Top five)
Tatum is a smooth athlete, a modern-style wing who will be asked to score in myriad ways. He is long and can shoot from mid-range, but also can run and be artistic in transition. The spotlight will shine on him a little brighter now that Giles -- his best friend and college roommate -- is out, at least for the short-term.
How will Tatum adjust, and how much can the coaching staff put on him? Tatum's role is going to be amplified without Giles. I think he'll adapt quickly to the college game.
MARQUES BOLDEN (Projected draft range: 6-12)
He benefits most with Giles out. Bolden is a true center, a 6-foot-11, 250-pound do-it-all-around-the-rim 5 man. He'll be asked to give Duke at least 23 minutes per game, so these next six weeks of practice are vital. Bolden picked Duke over Kentucky, and now NBA scouts can take a closer look at his game. He has great tools, long arms and good touch. If he's able to bring most of what Giles does in terms of effort and instinct on the boards, he'll help keep Duke at or near the top of the polls.
Giles is considered the better big, but given the knee issue and Bolden's likely uptick in play, it wouldn't be shocking if those roles were reversed by mid-December.
GRAYSON ALLEN (Projected range: 20-30)
With no Giles, Allen's role stands to change substantially. He might wind up being Duke's scoring point guard at a heavy usage. But it won't serve the team if Allen shoots upward of 20 times per game. Allen averaged 14.3 attempts per game last season and was very effective. He'll be an All-America candidate, and it could be a silver lining if the team develops around him -- with help from front-court vet Amile Jefferson -- as he becomes the team leader.
Duke ultimately will be fine. There are still plenty of questions and intrigue about Giles' availability for the first month of the season. Consequently, these three players will have more responsibility and opportunity to improve their NBA reputations while Giles isn't at full capacity.