Pacers first-round pick Chris Duarte likely won’t be a starter to open the 2021/22 season, but the team is increasingly confident he’s capable of playing his way into that role, according to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.
Michael suggests that Duarte has already displayed an “it” factor that will be impossible to overlook and has exhibited the sort of leadership skills the Pacers were lacking in 2020/21. The 24-year-old, one of the oldest and most NBA-ready players in this year’s draft class, looks capable of making an impact and helping to improve Indiana’s defense right away, Michael writes.
Here’s more on the Pacers:
- While Duarte has turned more heads so far, the Pacers are also high on their other first-round pick, Isaiah Jackson, Michael says in the same IndyStar story. As Michael writes, Indiana is eager to see how the shot-blocking Jackson looks alongside the team’s other rim protector, Myles Turner.
- T.J. Warren has had a career year in his first season with the Pacers in 2019/20 (19.8 PPG on .536/.403/.819 shooting), but had a lost season in 2020/21, when foot surgery limited him to four games. Entering a contract year, Warren is in position to put himself in line for a huge payday if he can bounce back and recapture his ’19/20 form, writes Evan Sidery of BasketballNews.com.
- Former Atlanta head coach Lloyd Pierce, recently hired by the Pacers as an assistant, spoke this week about what he’ll bring to Rick Carlisle‘s staff, including an ability to stay calm in the face of adversity, as Akeem Glaspie of The Indianapolis Star details. “I don’t stress and people that know me know that I don’t stress, this is just basketball,” Pierce said.
- In case you missed it, Indiana signed undrafted rookie DeJon Jarreau to a two-way contract earlier in the week.