Re-drafting the 2021 NBA Draft — 17. Chris Duarte, Pelicans
The oldest player in the draft performed up to expectations in year one. He started the season on an absolute tear, and his strong first half might be enough to warrant All-Rookie honors. Duarte is already a reliable rotation piece, with a dynamic 3-point shot and plenty of confidence on the offensive end.
He’s perfect for New Orleans here. The Pelicans are looking to take the next step in advance of Zion Williamson’s return to action, and Duarte is ready to contribute to a winning team. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he can give you 15 points a night and bury a lot of 3s.
The NBA is a wing’s league right now. Duarte can capably guard a couple positions, and he has enough juice off the dribble to beat certain mismatches when the ball comes his way. He can toggle between microwave scorer and spot-up shooter as needed, and he’s pretty savvy compared to most rookies because he’s almost 25 years old.