5 bold predictions for the Indiana Pacers in 2022

Indiana Pacers, Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers, Chris Duarte
Indiana Pacers, Chris Duarte – Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Chris Duarte becomes a 20-point per game scorer in Year 2

Indiana Pacers rookie Chris Duarte has been one of the few bright spots for the team this season. Even in a streamlined role on offense, the 24-year-old has not failed to turn heads, showing flashes of flashy shot creation, secondary playmaking, and good perimeter defense that should easily make him a shoo-in for the franchise’s long-term plans.

With LeVert and Sabonis out of the frame (as predicted here), Duarte will have all the room in the world to go full throttle as a scorer. As the team starts handing him the keys to spearhead the scoring attack, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up leading the team in scoring for the bulk of 2022.

Heck, this may not even be that bold of a prediction. Duarte already has the tools to be a nightly scoring leader if he was a featured option. Giving him more leeway to showcase what he can do with the rock will only push that agenda further. If Duarte ends up being a 20-point scorer next season and vetoes the proverbial sophomore slump, pencil him in as my favorite to nab the Most Improved Player award in the following campaign.