Oregon guard Chris Duarte has received an invite to the 2021 NBA Draft green room, per The Athletic.
As the report mentions, Duarte has potential to be a first-round pick. The former Duck believes he’s a lottery pick.
(I’m) a lottery pick,” Duarte told HoopsHype. “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.”
The NBA is a league where seniors are viewed as old and maybe hitting their peak. That alone is why there may be some skepticism on selecting Duarte in the lottery.
Where his upside could be evident is he went from NJCAA prospect to high NCAA D1 starter and now a projected first-round NBA Draft pick. That shows development.
Duarte is coming off a season in which he was named the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year and named to the All-Pac 12 first team. He averaged 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.9 steals in 29 games as a senior.
"Oregon was a lot of fun to watch in the NCAA tournament and Duarte was a big reason," wrote NBC Sports California's James Ham. "Long, athletic and under control, Duarte looks a lot like another former Duck in Dillon Brooks. He can hit the 3-ball, pass and he averaged nearly two steals per game. Duarte is a major climber in this years draft and being selected this high isn’t off the table.