After dealing with injuries that limited him to just 51 appearances in 2013-2014, Jaycee Carroll was back available for just about every game last season and he was remarkable. Because there is intense competition for minutes in Real Madrid’s perimeter with Sergio Llull, Sergio Rodriguez, Rudy Fernandez, KC Rivers and Jonas Maciulus all commanding playing time as well, Carroll logged just 17.2 minutes per game in 2014-2015. Yet, few players in the continent could make the sort of impact Carroll did in his scarce time on the floor.
Carroll is one of the very best shooters in the globe, and that has been the case ever since he hit 46.5% of his 793 three-point shots in four seasons at Utah State between 2004 and 2008. Not only he cannot be left open spotting up on the weak-side, Carroll is excellent shooting on the move as well. He is quick sprinting baseline, sets his feet in an instant, gets good elevation off the ground and has a lightning fast release due to his compact frame.
In his four years coaching him, Pablo Laso has leveraged the gravity his shooting provides very well and running him off staggered screens has been a fixture off that offense. Carroll hit 45.6% of his 252 three-point shots last season and has converted 43.6% of his 1,015 such shots since joining Real Madrid.
As we saw in the fourth quarter of the Euroleague title game against Olympiacos, Carroll is also very capable when the opponent denies him the shot off the catch and forces him into a one-, two-dribble pull-up instead. He converted 48.5% of his 64 mid-range jump-shots in the Euroleague.
But Carroll is not much of a threat to attack closeouts all the way to the basket, lacking the speed or long strides to get to the rim and the athleticism to hang in the air to finish against rim protection. He took just 29 shots at the rim in 30 Euroleague appearances and averaged just 2.2 free throws per 36 minutes.
Carroll also hasn’t flashed many instincts passing on the move when the defense converges to him, assisting on just 6.4% of Real Madrid’s scores in his 1,256 minutes on the floor last season. Nonetheless, he is so elite at his top skill that even with these gaps on this game, Carroll has a massive impact on the offense and Real Madrid averaged 123.7 points per 100 possessions with him in the lineup.
Carroll has some physical limitations that prevent him from being an impact defender. He is undersized for a wing at six-foot-two, doesn’t have a lot of strength in his 170-pound frame to contain dribble penetration through contact and doesn’t have a long wingspan to make much of an impact playing the passing lane and contesting shots effectively.
Yet, Laso trusts his discipline sliding around ball-screens enough that he often had Carroll guarding on the ball towards the end of the season. That was the case with Vassilis Spanoulis in the first half of the Euroleague title game against Olympiacos and Marcelinho Huertas in the Spanish league finals against Barcelona. He is not any sort of a shutdown defender but even though he is 32, Carroll has preserved lateral quickness to go over picks and recover into plays well enough to limit help.
Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.