The Indiana Pacers drafted Chris Duarte with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
Duarte is expected to provide immediate floor spacing with his ability to shoot off both the catch and the dribble. Despite being several years older than many of his peers at 24, Duarte’s experience and uber-efficient offensive output should help him force his way on to the floor early in his career.
After starting his career at the JUCO level at Northwest Florida State and winning JUCO Player of the Year in 2019, Duarte finished his career in Eugene. The 6-foot-6 wing struggled in his first season, but soared in his second, securing the media’s pick for Pac-12 Player of the Year.
In 2020-21 Duarte averaged 17.1 points per game to go along with 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals. In addition to stuffing the stat sheet, he was one of the nation’s most efficient scorers, shooting over 50% from the floor and 40% from three.
Duarte’s high-volume scoring and intensity on the defensive end helped the wing shoot up draft boards in past weeks. On Thursday, his NBA dream was realized as he joined former teammate Payton Pritchard as a first-rounder.