There remains to be somewhat greater than every week to go earlier than the 2021 NBA Draft, and whereas the Lakers have labored out almost 30 gamers publicly, Chris Duarte isn’t certainly one of them. But though the Lakers have but to formally host the 6’6 Oregon wing and certain first-round decide, that hasn’t stopped different NBA groups from connecting the 2 events.
Why? We aren’t actually positive, however in accordance to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic, there are a number of organizations that think the Lakers gave Duarte a promise to draft him, even when Vecenie himself says he doesn’t completely purchase the rumors (emphasis mine):
Duarte stays the identify that comes up most for the Lakers. He is understanding for groups above the Lakers within the draft order, so I’m a bit doubtful that there’s a “promise” right here — or wherever — for Duarte, one thing that groups across the league have speculated on all through the pre-draft course of.
To Vecenie’s factor, often, in draft parlance, a so-called “promise” is given in alternate for a participant shutting down exercises and knowledge for different groups within the hopes that they’ll fall to the crew that gave them stated promise. In alternate, the participant will get an absolute backside ground for the place they may find yourself within the draft, and doubtlessly will get to be a part of a company they need to go to.
The rumors that Duarte has a promise go all the way in which again to the mix:
Oregon’s Chris Duarte declined his 2021 NBA Draft Combine invite, fueling speak amongst groups that the combo guard might have a first-round promise, per sources.
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) June 7, 2021
But promise or no promise, Duarte does sound like the kind of participant who might assist the Lakers. Check out this scouting report from our personal Ricky O’Donnell, who ranks Duarte because the 24th-best prospect on this class:
Duarte will begin his rookie season as a 24-year-old who took an unlikely path to change into a attainable first circular decide. A local of the Dominican Republic, Duarte moved to New York for his closing years of highschool ball and ended up enjoying two seasons on the JUCO degree. When he transferred into Oregon, Duarte shortly confirmed off his talent as a three-point shooter and perimeter defender within the physique of a 6’6 wing. Duarte confirmed good consciousness as a rotational defender that helped produce a 3.2 steal charge that is without doubt one of the highest on this draft class. He hit 42.four % of his threes on 144 makes an attempt this season, and likewise made 81 % of his free throws.
It’s simple to mission Duarte into an off-ball function within the NBA as somebody who can spot-up alongside the arc for catch-and-shoot jumpers whereas defending effectively in a crew context. He doesn’t have a lot creation capability on the ball which limits his ceiling, and likewise has a skinny body that hinders him towards greater forwards, however he seems like a stable wager for a rotational wing function participant on the finish of the primary circular.
Given how a lot the Lakers struggled to shoot final season, and the way a lot Frank Vogel loves protection, it’s not laborious to see Duarte becoming in effectively in Los Angeles. Still, it’s not likely clear the place the concept the Lakers have been the crew to give him a promise got here from, so take this rumor with a grain of salt, even when different NBA groups consider it.
But all that famous, as an “older” draft prospect, Duarte does match a mildew of participant this scouting division has appeared to point out in yr’s previous that it feels is undervalued. The Lakers’ picks of Kyle Kuzma (three years in faculty) and Larry Nance. Jr. (4 years), for instance, have been seen as reaches in some circles lately — partly due to their age — and each of these guys have change into stable NBA gamers. Josh Hart (4 years) was additionally an older faculty man, though he was seen way more favorably by draftniks than the prior two selections. Moe Wagner (three years) and Anthony Brown (5 years) have been additionally aged prospects.
Is Duarte subsequent in that esteemed line of previous younger guys? We’ll discover out when the draft takes place on July 29.
For extra Lakers speak, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can observe Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.