Hawks: Chris Duarte could be ideal compliment to Trae Young

After coming within two games of the NBA Finals, the Hawks will look to reload this offseason with the focus surrounding John Collins and other free agents, but the draft has a few prospects that could provide an immediate impact. Whoever Travis Schlenk, Atlanta’s general manager, selects with the 20th pick will have to be a plug-and-play prospect as the team’s timeline isn’t fortuitous for a developing player. The Hawks are looking to win right now, and Chris Duarte could be just that.

The 23-year-old wing transferred to Oregon for the 2019-20 season, started all 28 games and immediately made his impact felt — averaging 12.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest, both good for second-best on the team. He led Oregon in steals that year on his way to an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention and Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention.

As a senior, Duarte took home nearly every conference award — Pac-12 Player of the Year, All-Pac-12 First Team, and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. He led the Ducks with 17.1 points per game and took them to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament as a seven-seed.

Duarte is known as a reliable knockdown shooter. In 26 games last season, he shot 53.2% from the field and 42.4% from three-point range, but nearly half of his shot attempts came from behind the arc — 5.5 of his 11.6 shots per game. He’s an effective shooter off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot situations but is also able to score off movement, namely screens.

Though he’s been labeled a sharpshooter, Duarte can finish at the rim with either hand. He goes up strong and can finish over or around bigger defenders. He often finishes through contact, and his 81% free-throw percentage suggests he’ll have plenty of and-one opportunities.

Duarte’s length enables him to generate steals by jumping in passing lanes and swiping balls away in one-on-one scenarios, playing with great awareness. Though he struggles to stay in front of his man, he shows solid effort.

Duarte is not much of a facilitator, and he’s not reliable in creating his own shot possession after possession, but he does many other things well. He could be an eventual Kevin Huerter replacement if Schlenk chooses not to extend Red Velvet.

Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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