Indiana Pacers: 5 things atop the Christmas wish list this year

Chris Duarte - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Duarte - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 5
Indiana Pacers, Chris Duarte
Indiana Pacers, Chris Duarte – Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Indiana Pacers Christmas wish list no. 3: More Chris Duarte, please

As a rookie, Chris Duarte has gotten every opportunity possible, especially with playing time, as he is averaging 29.0 minutes per game, fifth-most on the roster. That, however, has not been quite in line with his actual chances, as he’s primarily functioned as added security for the offense, instead of being in a featured role.

Duarte has plateaued a bit after a sensational October, but he remains as one of the Pacers’ most dangerous perimeter weapons. Even in his streamlined scoring role, he’s averaging 13.2 points per game. The rookie has not been as efficient, but his shifting role on offense could be the culprit.

Handing down the keys to Duarte in a more featured role, ideally as a gunner off the bench, could unlock him without compromising opportunities for the team’s more established players. He is also a much better facilitator than what his 2.1 assists average suggests, and with the team’s utmost lack of a backup point guard currently, having him handle the rock more could pay dividends down the road.