Chris Duarte, who ranked sixth among first-year players in points per game (13.0), was named to the All-Rookie Second Team, the NBA announced.
The 13th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Duarte started 39 games for the Pacers, arguably putting together his best stretch of the season during the team’s depleted, five-game west coast road trip at the end of January, in which he averaged 18.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists, with Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert in and out of the lineup, while shooting 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from the three, and 92 percent at the charity strip.
Shortly thereafter, his momentum was stunted by the toe injury he sustained against Minnesota on February 13 that ultimately cost him the final 12 games of the season. When healthy, however, the 24-year-old rookie impressed with flashes of unassisted shot-making, instinctual defense, and secondary playmaking; all while dealing with a slew of interruptions to his progress, from managing shoulder pain and entering health and safety protocols to adapting to both role and roster changes.
In total, Duarte received zero votes for All-Rookie First Team and 52 votes for All-Rookie Second Team, amounting to the lowest point total among those who made the cut.
Still, he edged out other notable rookies receiving votes, including Jalen Suggs, Davion Mitchell, and Jonathan Kuminga — all of whom were drafted ahead of him.
Duarte is the ninth player in franchise history to earn All-Rookie honors, joining Myles Turner (Second Team 2015-16), Paul George (Second Team 2010-11), Danny Granger (Second Team 2005-06), Jamaal Tinsley (Second Team 2005-06), Rik Smits (First Team 1988-89), Chuck Person (First Team 1986-87), Steve Stipanovich (First Team 1983-84), and Clark Kellogg (First Team 1982-83).
Duarte has yet to crack 150 minutes played with Tyrese Haliburton but appeared in the second-most games of anyone the Pacers rostered this season (55) and was the most productive first-year player in Indiana’s encouraging 2021 rookie class, which saw Isaiah Jackson surge down the stretch as Terry Taylor and Duane Washington Jr. both earned standard contracts after going undrafted.