At 24 years old, Chris Duarte is by far the oldest player in the 2021 NBA draft. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Duarte moved to New York for his final two years of high school. He played two seasons at Northwest Florida State before transferring to Oregon in 2019.
On a recent edition of the HoopsHype podcast, Duarte was asked where he feels his draft range is. He responded:
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.
His confidence is warranted.
Stats and measurements
Height: 6’ 6”
Weight 190 lbs
Wingspan: 6’ 7”
Duarte is a lights-out shooter with pure, consistent form and a quick, smooth release. He tends to hop before the catch, into his gather. This allows him to rise and fire quickly, in one fluid motion. Think Klay Thompson or JJ Redick, as opposed to a 1-2 step shooter with a slower release like Royce O’Neale. His shot mechanics make him effective in both spot ups and off movement, with or without a screen.
Duarte is more than a catch-and-shoot sniper. He’s capable of creating space with a step back, and has an effective dribble side step to avoid defenders and reposition for the shot. He has some dribble-drive game to punish closeouts. Duarte’s 63% on two-point field goals is a testament to his finishing and shot selection.
As a momentum-shifting playmaker in Dana Altman’s 2-3 zone defense, Duarte was excellent. He’s less effective in man concepts, particularly in isolation and at the point of attack. He’s susceptible to a quick first step and allows dribble penetration. He tends to ball watch, overplays passing lanes, and can be overly aggressive on closeouts. These defensive habits often put him out of position, forcing his teammates to scramble, rotate, and recover.
Duarte struggles as a playmaker and was a bit of a turnover machine in college. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.16:1 is well below average for a guard, and he often telegraphed his passes to the corner. Duarte struggles to deliver accurate passes in a few key areas for guards - the pass to the big out of pick and roll, the “skip” pass to the far corner, and the lob.
While Duarte’s upside is certainly limited by his age, his elite 3-point shooting gives him a high floor. Recently, older college prospects like Malcolm Brogdon and Desmond Bane have flourished in the NBA.
How the Jazz get him?
Duarte will almost certainly be long gone by pick 30. The Jazz would have to trade up for him and they don’t have a ton of trade assets. If the right trade is there, Utah should be all over it.