How serious are Duke's issues, and can they be fixed?

Jon Scheyer's Duke team is struggling more than anticipated this season. Could Caleb Foster and Jared McCain help solve some of the problems? Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

With the return of three starters -- two of them projected future lottery picks -- and the addition of the nation's No. 2 recruiting class, Duke entered the 2023-24 season with national championship expectations, slotting in at No. 2 in the preseason AP poll.

One month into the season, however, the Blue Devils are nearly out of the rankings (No. 22) after back-to-back road losses to Arkansas and Georgia Tech. They're just 5-3 overall, 0-1 in the ACC and No. 41 in the NCAA's NET rankings.

Coach Jon Scheyer acknowledged after Saturday's loss to the Yellow Jackets that adjustments were coming.

"As a coaching staff, there are some things we have to look at and probably make some changes," he said.

But what, exactly, are the issues Duke is facing, and how might they be fixed in the short and long term? We talked to opposing coaches to find out.

Tyrese Proctor's delayed breakout and injury

Perhaps the biggest key to Duke living up to its preseason expectations was Proctor playing like a lottery pick. A five-star prospect from Australia, he averaged just 9.4 points as a freshman last season but was most productive down the stretch, putting up 11.2 points and 4.2 assists in his final nine games and shooting nearly 40% from the 3-point line. The 6-foot-5 guard entered this season as one of the best NBA draft prospects in college basketball.

Proctor hasn't quite taken the expected next step, though, at least on a consistent basis. He had eight points on 3-for-9 shooting against Arizona and seven points on 3-for-12 shooting against Arkansas. But he did finish with 13 points and six assists against Michigan State and had 21 assists to just three turnovers during Duke's four-game winning streak between its losses to Arizona and Arkansas.

"I think it's really hard for him to go by his guy and create an advantage, and really hard for him to get to the rim," one opposing coach said.