2021 NBA Draft: Chris Duarte a plug-and-play option for Wizards in NBA Draft

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Oregon's Chris Duarte a plug-and-play option for Wizards originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Wizards are picking in the middle of the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Whether they trade up, down or stay firm at No. 15, here is the latest in our series on draft prospects whom the Wizards could consider selecting.

2021 NBA Draft Prospect Preview: Chris Duarte

School/team: Oregon

Position: SG/SF

Age: 24

Height: 6-6

Weight: 190

Wingspan: 6-8

2020/21 stats: 26 G, 17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.8 bpg, 53.2 FG% (6.2/11.6), 42.4 3PT% (2.3/5.5), 81.0 FT%

Player comparison: Gary Trent Jr.

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 26th, Ringer 22nd, NBADraft.net 28th, Bleacher Report 19th

5 things to know:

- Duarte is one of the best shooters in this draft and he's comfortable getting his shot off in a multitude of ways. He can hit triples spotting up, in pick and roll and coming around screens. Duarte shot over 40% from three on 5.5 3-point attempts per game while hitting 81% from the free-throw line. Shooting is the premium skill in the NBA and Duarte should be able to provide plenty of it to his next team. 

- The Oregon wing isn't just a shooter, however. Duarte is one of the more polished offensive prospects in this class. His ability to his jumpers from all over the floor certainly helps, but he's a confident ball-handler in pick-and-roll when looking for his shot and is a solid finisher at the rim. Duarte shot 53% from the floor last season with the Ducks and it was no considering the depth of his offensive skill set.  

 

- Duarte is a solid defender with good fundamentals, but he leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to versatility. He usually isn't quick enough to slide with guards and smaller perimeter players, and he's not big enough to handle larger wings. Fundamentals can get you a long way in the NBA, especially when you're 6-foot-6, but if you're looking for an elite 3-and-D prospect, Duarte isn't all the way there. 

- At 24 years old, Duarte is one of the oldest prospects available and due to the fact he's not an elite athlete, his ceiling is way lower than a lot of the players expected to go in the first round. This doesn't mean teams should stay away from drafting him. Some teams need to target prospects with a greater chance of becoming contributors. But if you're looking for a future starter/All-Star caliber player in the first round, a 24-year-old rookie may not be for you. 

- Duarte will need to improve as a playmaker to fully realize his offensive potential and perhaps take his game to another level. He flashes a bit of playmaking potential and seems to understand which reads to make in pick-and-roll, but he doesn't always deliver accurate passes. Right now Duarte uses pick-and-roll to score, so he'll need to improve this area of his game to become a starter-level player. 

Fit with Wizards:

Duarte represents some of the biggest needs the Wizards have entering the 2021 NBA Draft. He's a great shooter with a balanced offensive game and has the defensive fundamentals and size to give Washington more versatility on both ends of the floor. 

Adding on to that, he's 24 years old and is polished enough on offense where he should be able to contribute right away, which would seemingly benefit a Wizards team competing for a playoff spot with Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook leading the way. 

If the Wizards stay at No. 15, the best wings in the draft (Scottie Barnes, Keon Johnson, Moses Moody etc.) will likely get taken by the time they're on the clock. This will probably leave the Wizards with a choice of a player like Duarte, an NBA-ready wing with limited upside, or a raw prospect with unlimited upside like Ziaire Williams. Both would be fine choices, though Duarte would seemingly line up with the current state of the roster.