Indiana Pacers: 3 takeaways from dominant victory over the Chicago Bulls

Indiana Pacers, Myles Turner - Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Myles Turner - Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers, Chris Duarte
Indiana Pacers, Chris Duarte – Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Will Chris Duarte play off the bench for the Indiana Pacers moving forward?

After struggling in his return from injury against the Hornets, coach Rick Carlisle moved rookie Chris Duarte to the second unit against the Pelicans and once again, versus the Bulls, casting a question on his role with the team moving forward with how the current starting group has played in their last two victories.

An early frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, Duarte’s play has quietly waned since the start of November, with the wing man averaging just 9.9 points per game in 25.8 minutes per contest. While his diminished playing time is a big reason for his more modest outputs, he hasn’t looked as comfortable operating in a non-featured role on offense, struggling to get much rhythm with lesser shots available for taking.

For the meantime, Duarte may be better off playing with the second unit. While he’s still not at his October level, he should have ampler opportunities as a featured option off the bench and give the group a more unpredictable jolt on both ends, as his shot creation and secondary playmaking are better fits for the nominal sixth man role compared to Justin Holiday’s straightforward skillset as a spot-up shooter.