2021 NBA Draft mock #22: Los Angeles Lakers: Chris Duarte
The Lakers were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns, but they plan on contending for the championship next season. They have eight players heading into free agency this offseason. Ownership and the front office will have to decide how far they are willing to go into the luxury tax to maximize their roster.
Los Angeles should be looking for a player that can make an instant impact with this selection. Chris Duarte has a monster second season at Oregon and is NBA-ready. The 23-year-old averaged 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 34.1 minutes per game. He shot 53.2 percent from the field and 42.4 percent on his threes.
Duarte excels in catch and shoot situations and could provide important floor spacing for a Lakers’ team light on shooters.
The 6’6 wing should be able to hold his own on the defensive end. He lacks elite athleticism or quickness, but he competes hard. Duarte should improve in the Lakers’ defensive-focused system.
Chris Duarte is one of the most interesting prospects in this draft. The class is light on shooters which could vault him up boards, but his age will scary some teams off. Expect Duarte to be drafted in the late first round and make an instant impact at the next level.
Next: No. 23