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Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle recently met with Duarte to discuss the potential change. The rookie completely bought in and told Carlisle he is willing to do whatever it takes to help the Pacers win, and the change is already paying off in a small sample size.
The team is 2-0 following the change and is coming off of a 32-point win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday. Duarte produced nine points and six rebounds and finished a plus-14 on the court in 22 minutes of work off the bench.
The move has helped Duarte see the game from a different vantage point.
“From the outside, you can see better,” Duarte said. “I’m learning. I’m watching the game and seeing things and seeing players like DeMar DeRozan and the control he plays with. I’m just learning as much as I can watching us play, my teammates play.”
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) November 23, 2021
Duarte recently missed two games because of shoulder soreness, something that is still bothering him. He continues to improve each day with treatment but wants to play through the pain in order to help the Pacers get back on track.
He got off to a hot start to begin the season but has seen his production drop a bit in his reduced role. However, Duarte is still viewed as a key player and the team will continue to rely on him moving forward. It sounds as though he will be ready for whatever is asked of him.