Dub Nation HQ Draft Tourney Rd 2: #13 Chris Duarte vs #5 Jalen Johnson

Steady and ready vs flaky shake and baker

The whole tournament is at 2021 Dub Nation HQ Draft Tournament.

Your mission is to decide which of these two you would prefer the Warriors draft at #7 this year. I’ll bring the scouting reports, you bring the vote.

And if you don’t want either one at #7? Yeah yeah I get it. You can still help us choose between them or just let the rest of us pick.

How The Candidates Got Here

Dub Nation Speaks

  • Ziaire matched up against duarte

    Ziaire looks passive and disengaged on offense but his length of defense his passing is for real. I think he would excel in our motion offense forcing him to stay engaged and definitely would look awesome in our switch everything defense. Might have some rebounding potential too once he gets stronger.

    Duarte looks super engaged and intense, jumper is legit, every on defense and the boards. His off the dribble attack game looks solid as well, even tried to dunk on Williams in the fourth, Williams rotated over nicely n blocked it but it was called a foul. I'd be fine with both guys

  • CNB (2 ♡):

    I'm voting Garuba. Johnson has some tantalizing skills, but it sounds like they add up to something like Scottie Barnes Lite, with character concerns. If I'm drafting someone without demonstrated consistent shooting ability, I'd like the other talents to be NBA-level without any qualifications (he's a great passer BUT commits a ton of turnovers, he can score BUT he can't shoot, etc.). If I'm drafting a great passer and Barnes is gone, give me Giddey or even Cooper at 14 (another trade-down guy I like).

    Between the two, of course I'd rather take Garuba at 14, but even at 7 I'll bank on the guy who has demonstrated elite defense at age 18 against professionals, and also shown some passing ability and high BBIQ.

  • Sleepy Freud (5 ♡):

    “Scottie Barnes light”

    Maybe? Worth noting, tho: going by their college numbers, Johnson was the vastly better rebounder (11.4 to 6.5 per 40), shotblocker (2.3 to 0.7), and scorer (21.0 pts on .575 ts to 16.7 pts on .548 ts).

    Johnson’s also a couple inches taller and 4 months younger.

    The preference for Barnes seems more about his fantastic attitude and energy than anything else. Which matters a lot, of course. But I do find JJ’s measurables very intriguing.

  • Arash (2 ♡):

    This is clearly Jalen Johnson for me. On defense, he already displays an incredibly instinct when it comes to blocks/steals with his size/quickness giving him excellent versatility. On offense, his dribbling/fantastic passing/finishing will be more effective in NBA spacing.

    I think Johnson already has a pretty high floor by virtue of his current skillset, but his upside is fantastic. His biggest negative is his shooting, but he was actually relatively effective in catch/shoot though his FT% was pretty low. If he can just improve that, we quite literally could have a 6'9 forward who can dribble like a guard, is an excellent passer, can guard all 5 positions, and can hit shots . . . thats a star

Chris Duarte

Profile from Sports-Reference.com

Wizzy’s Comps.

  • Per 40. Luther Head, Cameron Johnson, Adonis Jordan, Khyri Thomas, Davon Reed, Steve Blake, Jon Diebler, Payton Pritchard, Kirk Hinrich

  • Advanced. Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Khyri Thomas, Buddy Hield, Davion Mitchell, Tyrese Haliburton, Marial Shayok, Payton Pritchard, Josh Hart

Jon Chepkevich: Statistical best comparisons are

  1. Nickeil Alexander-Walker

  2. Darrun Hilliard

  3. Quinndary Weatherspoon

  4. Caris LeVert

  5. Will Barton

NBA Draft Room Comp: Klay lite

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Some evaluators have docked Duarte for his age, as he’d be the oldest prospect in the first round. But I think his game is so tailor-made for the NBA that he’s not going to have any problem making an immediate impact. He’s an All-Defense member in the Pac-12 and a genuine playmaker with how disruptive his hands are in the backcourt with length at 6-6. And on offense, he’s a legit 40-plus percent 3-point shooter who can also handle the ball and make comfortable decisions. Duarte has high-level role player written all over him.

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Modern Rip Hamilton, Gary Trent Jr., Danny Green

A strong shooter who could stick in the league for a long time, especially if he makes progress as a playmaker and on-ball defender.

  • Perimeter Shooting

  • Hustle


  • Elite spot-up shooter who can score off movement using screens, handoffs, and relocations.

  • He's not a dynamic shot creator, but he is a knockdown shooter off the bounce, able to punish defenders for going under screens or pull up and side-step defenders off spot-up situations. 

  • Ambidextrous finisher who has the body control to bend and angle himself to score.

  • A hustler who goes out of his way to make plays on the ball, and a willing rebounder for his position.

  • Active and aware in the passing lanes as an off-ball defender. He makes reads like a defensive back and creates a ton of steals and deflections.

  • Good defensive fundamentals. He stays in his stance and plays hard. He needs to improve his lateral movement, but the tools are there.


  • Subpar playmaker at this stage of his career. He’s a willing passer but he’s inaccurate, especially off the dribble in pick-and-roll situations.

  • Likely not a very switchable defender, as he’s not quick enough to handle speedy guards or big enough for larger, stronger forwards.

  • He’ll be 24 by draft night.

Hollinger, The Athletic: Duarte isn’t for everyone, as he will be 24 years old when training camp opens. History tells us drafting old guys has often turned out badly, and that there is a lot less upside in picking Duarte versus selecting players who are as much as a half decade younger.

That said, this is where the selling proposition on Duarte looks reasonable. He is an NBA rotation wing right now, and may even be a starter. There is no development curve, no having to use our imagination to color in lines that might not be there.

Duarte is a good shooter (42.4 percent from 3 on high volume) and a deft operator around the rim who shot a staggering 63.1 percent on 2s, even in a high-volume role that saw him average 31.3 points per 100 in-conference games. He handles the ball well enough to be a secondary operator, finishing with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, and he can guard 2s and 3s. He also anticipates well off the ball, with a stellar 3.3 per 100 steal rate in Pac-12 play.

That combination likely yields a relatively unsexy package of a plus backup wing who can maybe start, but think of this as a free agent move. By nabbing Duarte outside the lottery, a team is basically getting four years of a $10 million player on a $3 million contract for four years. The tradeoff is that they give up on the improbable but still theoretically possible opportunity to pick a teenager and wind up with a $30 million player a few years down the road.

Jalen Johnson

Mock Drafts For GSW: O’Donnell, SB Nation

Profile from Sports-Reference.com

Wizzy’s Comps

  • Per 40: Josh Jackson, Dontonio Wingfield, Mark Davis, Elden Campbell, Walter McCarty, Chris Webber, Julian Wright, Chris McCullough, DayRon Sharpe

  • Advanced: Josh Jackson, DayRon Sharpe, Ben Simmons, Kyle Anderson, Cade Cunningham, Jalen Suggs, Draymond Green, Royce White, Reggie Perry

NBA Draft Room Comp: Tobias Harris

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: We’re in the part of the draft where there are some real flawed but interesting prospects who have high upsides but low floors. In the case of Johnson, he’s a tremendous ballhandler and transition player for his size at the four. His best skill, though, is his passing ability. He’s very creative in how he sees over the defense, and he makes a lot of tough reads. The problem is that he’s not a particularly adept half-court scoring threat. Teams will just play the pass against him because he doesn’t shoot it confidently yet and doesn’t have an in-between floater game yet. If he ever shoots it, though, he has a good shot to turn into a real starter.

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Aaron Gordon, Rudy Gay, Bigger RJ Barrett

Versatile forward who pressures the rim in the open floor, though his half-court skills need to come a long way.

  • Athleticism

  • Playmaking

  • Rebounding


  • Playmaking is his best skill. Delivers an accurate ball off the bounce and has great court awareness. Would have averaged far more assists if his Duke teammates hit shots.

  • Has great open-floor speed and athleticism. If his jumper develops, he could thrive in the pick-and-roll, as he has the height to see over the defense and make passes smaller players can’t.

  • Clearly has half-court value as a screener and interior finisher off cuts and dump-off passes. The way the Sixers utilize Ben Simmons is a road map to getting production out of him.

  • Isn’t much of a low- or high-post scorer yet but already shows good passing chops.

  • Active rebounder who can grab-and-go on the break.

  • Versatile on-ball defender with the lateral quickness and strength to contain players of all sizes.

  • Good off-ball defender rotating to help at the rim or closing out to shooters.


  • Ineffective shooter with stiff mechanics. Hit more than half his shots off the catch, but his form, low free throw percentage, and lack of success shooting at lower levels doesn’t inspire much confidence in his potential

  • Averse to contact at the rim. Prefers to finish with finesse. Though a good finisher as is, there’s room to improve

  • Overconfident passer who commits too many avoidable turnovers

  • Inconsistent defender who goes through stretches when he gets caught ball-watching or doesn’t put full effort in to get a stop

  • Teams worry about his character after leaving IMG Academy during his senior year of high school, then departing from Duke after just 13 games.

Hollinger, The Athletic: There are all kinds of questions about Johnson right now, and teams are digging in and doing their homework about how much is genuinely concerning. There are also some basketball concerns; he is not a great shooter, and as a driver and finisher, he was much more effective operating in transition than in the half court.

But there is a pretty sharp talent cliff at this point in the draft, and Johnson comes just before the ledge. Whatever the other concerns, it’s inarguable he’s shown the talent to be a starting power forward in the NBA. Watching him reminds me a bit of a player in Memphis, James Johnson; like his namesake, this Johnson can play as a big while operating as an on-ball creator on offense, but he can also be plagued by wildness and inconsistent shooting.

Johnson put up video-game stats in his limited time at Duke — 30.4 points, 16.4 rebounds and 6.0 assists per 100 possessions, with a 25.1 PER. He had 3.1 steals and 3.3 blocks per 100, with the steal rate, in particular, being pretty insane for a 6-foot-9 power forward. He also made plenty of mistakes, possessing the highest turnover rate of any prospect in this draft. My research, though, indicates that otherwise productive prospects with insane turnover rates aren’t notably worse off in the pros.

The eye test is maybe not quite as bullish. Offensively, he has a pretty good first step and ball skills for his size. However, he struggles to adjust the plan when his initial path is cut off. Defensively, he can be a major disruptor as a secondary defender off the ball, but he can be a bit upright and tight-hipped on it.

I get the overall concerns, and I don’t want to minimize them. But there is massively more upside here than with any other player remaining on the board. Yes, it feels high for a risk-reward pick like this, except the middle of this draft isn’t strong. The ninth overall pick also bombs a lot more often than people realize (we recently had Dennis Smith Jr. and Kevin Knox go ninth in consecutive years, for instance), so this is where the equation on Johnson starts turning favorable. It’s possible he bombs, but this is as low as I can put him.

Your Vote

Vote on Twitter or post a comment clearly supporting one or the other. Comment votes count ten times more than Twitter votes.