2021 NBA Draft mock #22: Los Angeles Lakers: Chris Duarte
If the Lakers keep this selection, they will be looking to add a depth piece that can help them win immediately. Los Angeles wants floor spacers and defenders around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They have a plethora of important decisions to make this offseason with Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, Talen Horton-Tucker, Wesley Matthews, Markieff Morris, Ben McLemore, and Jared Dudley all heading into free agency.
Duarte played two seasons at Oregon after spending two years at Northwest Florida State. During his senior season, he averaged 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 34.1 minutes per game. The 24-year-old shot 53.2 percent from the field, 42.4 percent on his threes, and 81.0 percent from the foul line.
Duarte would improve the Lakers’ spacing as a rookie. He is NBA-ready and an outstanding catch and shoot option. Duarte did not start playing basketball until age 14, so he should continue to improve in the NBA.
Expect the Los Angeles Lakers to jump back into title contention next season. Adding a rotation player here will help ease their luxury tax bill. Chris Duarte must improve on the defensive end, but he will be ready to play on opening night.
Next: No. 23