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The Pacers took Oregon Senior G Chris Duarte with the #13th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft with high expectations that he would be able to contribute immediately to a team that was looking to return to the top half of the Eastern Conference.

Even in a heartbreaking 122-123 loss to the Hornets in Charlotte in the season opener, Duarte shined with 27 points on 9-15 shooting and 6-9 from 3. A Pacers franchise record for rookies in their debut.

JMV caught up with Duarte on his show Thursday and Chris explained to JMV when he knew that he had the hot hand:

“When I saw my first basket, a floater, going in, it was go time for me and I took advantage of that.”

Duarte explained to JMV that he doesn’t like showing emotion while out in the court, but he was able to reflect on his impressive his first game in the NBA was:

“Last night I had a good game individually but I was mad that we lost. Once we came back to the hotel and I laid down in my bed I was like ‘man, what I did tonight was incredible for my first game in the NBA’.”

The Pacers haven’t had a rookie impact the team since Myles Turner in 2015. It was only game 1 of 82 but Duarte showed the ability to be a key rotational player for the 2021-22 Pacers.

If you missed any of JMV’s conversation with Chris, take a listen below!