San Antonio Spurs Draft

Mock Draft 2.0: Final mock before Thursday's 2021 NBA Draft

Jalen Suggs, Jared Butler - Baylor v Gonzaga
Jalen Suggs, Jared Butler - Baylor v Gonzaga / Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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26 of 31
NBA Draft
Chris Duarte - Oregon v Southern California / Justin Casterline/Getty Images

. Chris Duarte. player. 77. . Wing. Oregon. 25

With the 25th overall pick, I have the Los Angeles Clippers selecting Oregon's Chris Duarte. While I could easily see Duarte being taken in the 15-20 pick range, similarly to a player like Desmond Bane, I think teams will struggle to get past his age. Duarte is one of the oldest players in the draft at 24 years old.

The Clippers are between a rock and a hard place right now given that Kawhi Leonard recently underwent surgery for a partially torn ACL. With that in mind, the Clippers will have to decide whether they want to select an NBA-ready win-now player, or a younger player with higher upside while they can still pick one.

That said, while Leonard will likely be out for several months, if not the majority or all of next season, I think the Clippers are very much in win-now mode. Virtually all of their future draft capital has been spent on acquiring some of their better players and it's now or never for them.

Out of all players that are still available, Duarte probably offers the most immediate help on both sides of the floor. I would not go so far as to call him a 3-and-D wing player as some aspects of his defense are a bit underwhelming, but what he brings to the table on offense makes up for his shortcomings. He's a 42% three-point shooter, operates well when moving off the ball, may have a bit of untapped playmaking potential, and records nearly two steals per game.

While Duarte is probably close to reaching his ceiling as a player, he could come to the Clippers and immediately contribute while Leonard heals from surgery.

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