Draft night can be a stressful time for some young basketball players as they can drop a little further than expected and no one really knew the feel for Oregon basketball star Chris Duarte.
The range was pretty vast for Duarte. He could have either been a mid-first or late-first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. His stress levels after 10 picks had to be high, but they didn’t last much longer as a team took a chance on him a few spots later.
The wait didn’t take long for Duarte on Thursday night as he was selected No. 13 overall by the Indiana Pacers.
Indiana added the talented guard from Oregon after his career year with the Ducks as he averaged 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists with 1.9 steals. He played at an elite level on both ends of the floor, shooting 53 percent from the floor and 42 percent from deep.
The Pacers needed some shooting help and Duarte should be just that. They were 11th in the NBA in shooting percentage and 17th in 3-point percentage. They did finish sixth in scoring but they want to add some defensive help to Rick Carlisle’s Pacers.
Three-and-D guys will always have a place in the NBA, and when they can create shots for themselves and others, that makes it even better.
How Duarte fits with the Pacers’ roster
Right now, the Pacers have Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert in the backcourt and TJ Warren at small forward, barring any offseason moves.
Duarte could play anywhere from point guard to small forward and he could back each of those guys up and be a solid sixth man-type of player. He will provide defense and some solid offensive explosion off the bench.
Indiana gained some fans from Oregon on Thursday night.