Myles Turner: Chris Duarte firmly in Rookie of the Year conversation

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Myles Turner: Chris Duarte firmly in Rookie of the Year conversation
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If there can be a conversation surrounding the NBA Rookie of the Year race just three weeks into the season, Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner believes teammate Chris Duarte should be part of it.

Turner recently vouched for Duarte in the race to become the top first-year player this season. He looked at the body of work Duarte has put forth to this point and believes some of his intangibles are responsible for his quick start.

Duarte, through 11 games, is averaging 16 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists on 44.7% shooting from the field, including 42.2% from 3-point range. He leads all rookie players in total scoring, field goals and 3-pointers made.

Turner, speaking in an interview with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, loves the confidence that Duarte is playing with to begin the season with the Pacers.

No disrespect to any other rookies right now, but I’d say Chris has firmly put himself in the Rookie of the Year conversation. He plays with this confidence that I saw him play with in the summer league, and he carried it right over into training camp and into the game. The way he plays, he has no fear. I think he’s someone that’s been talked about for a while now.

Him being 24 years old, he has some poise and a calmness about him that you don’t see a lot from rookies coming in. He doesn’t play too fast, and he gets to his spots. He’s someone who’s going to be important for us down the stretch. I think he’s one of the better rookies in the league. All the other guys get the hype just because of the social media and the markets they’re in, but I think Chris deserves all the praise he’s getting and more.

Duarte came out of the gate hot, producing 27 points during his first game, which set the Pacers team record for a rookie debut. He has started every game this season and has scored in double figures in all but one game to this point.

The 13th overall pick was described by Turner as being fearless on the court, something Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle also said. Duarte has drawn high praise from his peers around the league and recently earned a shoutout from Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton.

The Pacers believed Duarte could play a big role to start the season, and the rookie is showing he is capable of contributing on a nightly basis. If he can continue to produce, Duarte will be a name to watch in the Rookie of the Year race.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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