Chris Duarte fits a lot of the profile that the Los Angeles Lakers desire. He brings size on the perimeter at 6’6. He’s on the older side at 24 years old, so he’s ready to play. Lastly, he is one of the best shooters in the 2021 NBA Draft crop. He shot 42.4 percent from long range and averaged 17.1 points per game with the Oregon Ducks last season.
Prior to the workout ramp-ups, Duarte and the Lakers were linked as a match. Many mock drafts slated him as the Lakers pick when they make the 22nd selection. The link between the two were so strong that many people believed that the Lakers may have made Duarte a promise. The Athletics’ Sam Vecenie discussed the possibility:
Duarte remains the name that comes up most for the Lakers. He is working out for teams above the Lakers in the draft order, so I’m a bit dubious that there is a “promise” here — or anywhere — for Duarte, something that teams around the league have speculated on throughout the pre-draft process.
Unfortunately, this possible promise may not be fulfilled. Duarte is drawing interest from a few teams slated to pick before the Lakers, including the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors.
If the Lakers did indeed guarantee to draft Duarte, then they will have to maneuver around to get him. With resources linked in bigger deal possibilities, the Lakers will likely lose their shot at him. No one will know for sure until the clock starts running on Thursday night.