Oregon Ducks guard Chris Duarte is projected by most to be a late first-round pick, but the 24-year-old feels as though he should be drafted much higher than that.
Duarte was named to the All-Pac 12 first team last season after averaging 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals in 29 games as a senior. He was one of only two Division I players to average at least 17 points and 1.9 steals on 50% shooting from the field.
The 6-foot-6 product declined to attend the NBA draft combine, which fueled speculation that he had received a first-round promise from a team. However, he felt as though he didn’t need to prove anything else and opted against participating in the event.
Duarte recently appeared on the “HoopsHype” podcast with Michael Scotto and said he should be a lottery pick given his resume and overall skill set on the court.
(I’m) a lottery pick. I don’t care about what anybody says. I’m a lottery pick. They keep talking about my age. My age doesn’t matter. If you’re ready to go, you’re ready to go. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Right now, I’m a lottery pick, and I’m going to prove it.
Certainly, his skill set is worthy of getting a look in the lottery.
He demonstrated last season at Oregon the ability to make an impact on both ends of the floor, something teams covet at the next level. He led the Pac-12 in steals and proved on a nightly basis that he can perform at an elite level on defense.
Duarte has climbed draft boards all season long and, because of his strong play last year, now has an opportunity to be selected early in the first round. It will certainly be worth watching to see if he gets his wish of getting drafted in the lottery.
The NBA draft is scheduled to take place on Thursday, July 29.
2021 NBA Mock Draft: All 60 picks post-lottery edition
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