INDIANAPOLIS – The Pacers selected Oregon’s Chris Duarte with the 13th overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night in Brooklyn.
“I’m grateful for my family and the people that helped me to get here,” Duarte said. “I’m grateful for the work I put in. It feels amazing, man. I’m really excited about the future.”
The 6-6, 190 guard averaged 14.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in two seasons for the Ducks. He averaged 17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 2.7 apg last season while earning first team All-Pac-12 honors.
Duarte worked out for Pacers’ management at the Ascension St. Vincent Center last Wednesday.
“My workouts were great, so I knew I was going to go from 9 to 15,” said Duarte. “I went to Indiana and I had a great, great workout. I met with the people, with the front office and we really connected well.”
“We’re really happy to have him,” said new head coach Rick Carlisle. “I think he’s a guy that Indiana Pacers’ basketball fans are going to fall in love with because of his passion, the kind of teammate he’s going to be and the way he’s going to represent the city.”
The 24-year-old had a long journey to the NBA lottery. He was born in the Dominican Republic, before moving to the United States and playing high school basketball on the East Coast.
He played junior college at Northwest Florida State before finishing at Oregon.
“You know what, all that helped me to get here,” Duarte said. “I’m just grateful for those people that helped me. I’m just really excited and happy.”
The Pacers made two trades on draft night. Multiple outlets are reporting the team traded picks 54 and 60, plus future second rounders to Milwaukee for the 31st overall pick.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported they then traded Aaron Holiday and no. 31 to Washington for the 22nd pick, Kentucky forward Isaiah Jackson.
Carlisle and general manager Chad Buchanan confirmed they acquired the rights to Jackson, but could not get into the specifics of the trades because of league rules.
The 19-year-old was a defensive standout for the Wildcats, averaging almost three blocks a game.
“I’m a hard worker,” said Jackson. “I bring it all. I’m a defensive anchor. I’m going to be their energy guy that Indiana needs and I can’t wait to get there and get to work and show everybody, prove everybody wrong.”
“We wanted to add athleticism, shot blocking, a lob threat at the rim and a defender,” said Carlisle. “He’s very young with a great deal of upside.”
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