The Indiana Pacers have selected Oregon G Chris Duarte with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
The Pacers fell short in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament in the 2020-21 season, and the year ended by Indiana allowing 142 points against the Washington Wizards. The Pacers finished the regular season with a 34-38 record, which was tied for the eighth best mark in the East. They have not gotten past the first round of the playoffs since the 2013-14 season, and the organization is stuck in the middle where teams do not want to be. It is difficult to know what to take away from another pandemic-impacted season, especially for a roster that was decimated by injuries to key players all year long. The Nate Bjorkgren era went by quickly as the Pacers head coach was fired after just one season in charge.
Rick Carlisle is the Pacers new head coach in his third stint with the organization. He had been an assistant for the team from 1997-2000 and the head coach from 2003-07. Carlisle has been the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks for the past 13 years.
Indiana Pacers 2021 NBA Draft picks
No. 13, first round: Chris Duarte, G, Oregon
No. 22, first round (from WAS via LAL): Isaiah Jackson, PF/C, Kentucky
No. 54, second round:
No. 60, second round:
Fantasy basketball outlook
Chris Duarte — Duarte is surprising this high in the draft considering he’s 24 years old already. The thing is, the Dominican product may end up being more NBA-ready than most of the lottery prospects. Duarte led the Ducks in scoring last season at 17.2 PPG and is a great outside shooter at 42.4 percent last season. Duarte adds a versatile wing who can shoot the lights out for Indiana, which already has a strong back court featuring Malcolm Brogdon and Aaron Holiday. Shooting never hurts. Duarte could carve out a role as a bench contributor and 3-point specialist for fantasy basketball owners.
Isaiah Jackson — The Pacers are adding a big with a ton of upside in Jackson out of UK. We all know how well Kentucky prospects have translated into the NBA. Jackson doesn’t have much upside as an outside, perimeter type of big, but he’s a great defender around the rim. It’s weird, because he resembles Pacers C Myles Turner as an athletic big who can block shots and run the floor a bit. Jackson will be a guy to keep an eye on in keeper leagues.