If it is based on time spent and smurfs will always play more on their main and barely grind on their alt accounts, wouldn't it make new players trying ranked for the first time always go against smurfs?
You can look up valorant rank distribution graph for June 2022 and see that riot almost balanced it. The only problem is the gap between Diamond 3- Immortal 1 compared to Immortal1-Immortal 2. Hence why they are adding the new Ascendant rank to smooth the curve.
I am immortal 2 and I started to smurf to play with my friends(gold 3), it's not my fault that I grinded more so now I can't play with them . I want to spend time with my friends and smurfing is the only way. Riot really fixed the smurfing problem tho. By the end of my qualification matches, I was gold 3 and we started playing against diamonds after 5 games.
In lower ranks, you will barely get a smurf since the level 20 grind already evaluates you as a smurf and matches you with gold/plat on your first qualification game. If you are plat/diamond and get an immortal smurf once every 5 games, it just shows you that there is still much to improve on.
Don't think smurfs hold you back, you are.