Wendell Carter, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Wendell Carter, Jr. had a great year. If not for Marvin Bagley III on the same team taking away the spotlight, he would probably be even more highly touted by now.

He has the physical profile (six-foot-10, 259 pounds[1]) of a pure center in a time where pure centers are devalued but showed the skill he was previously known for and surprised with his nimbleness out in space.

He also has a good deal of high level experience for a just-turned 19-year-old[2]:

  • 997 NCAA minutes with Duke;
  • 206 minutes defending the United States National Team at the 2015 U16 FIBA Americas and 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup;
  • 82 minutes at the 2016 adidas Nations;
  • An appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.

Carter, Jr. averaged 20.2 points per 40 minutes[3] on 62.8% true shooting and compiled a 26.3 PER in 37 appearances last season[4].

Duke played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +33.3 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor, which was the best net rating on the team among rotation players[6].

The Pace Academy product played primarily center, though he shared the court with Marques Bolden some – getting most of his touches in the post. He didn’t roll hard often but flashed a catch-and-shoot three-pointer out of the pick-and-pop.

The native of Fairburn, Georgia guarded pick-and-rolls mostly below the foul line during the first half of the season and defended the front of the basket when Duke went to a full time zone during the conference part of the schedule.

OFFENSE

Carter, Jr. has a very advanced post game for someone his age:

  • Power moves;
  • Head fakes;
  • Shot fakes;
  • Fake pivot move;
  • Pivot move to pass;
  • Turnaround, fadeaway jumper;
  • Most often looking for right handed hook but has a counter finishing with his off hand;

He struggled with touch during the second half of the season, though – shooting 36.8% on 95 two-point attempts away from the basket[7].

Carter, Jr. showed to be a decent passer out of hard double teams with good court vision but not some exceptional passer and turned it over a displeasing amount – assisting on 12.9% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor but averaging three turnovers per 40 minutes while logging 22.6% usage rate.

He prefers to rely on skill but doesn’t shy away from contact – averaging 6.8 foul shots per 40 minutes.

Carter, Jr. didn’t roll hard to the basket often out of setting ball-screens. Part of the problem was Bagley, III not always spacing out to the three-point line and Trevon Duval being a poor shooter but part of it was due to his lack of explosiveness.

He can play above the rim as a target for lobs in transition and sneaking behind the defense with time to load up but can’t go up strong off two feet in traffic.

Carter, Jr. did prove to be coordinated enough for instances where he needed to catch, take a dribble for balance and go up for a finish with a defender between him and the basket, though. He also showed to have decent touch on non-dunk finishes – shooting 70.2% on 178 attempts at the rim.

Carter, Jr. is only a capable open shot shooter at this point of his development. The fluidity of his release improved the second half of the season, though it remains not quick enough to get a good look off when rushed by a closeout or over a contest.

He flashed some quick shots out of the pick-and-pop and out of roll-and-replace but is mostly suited for spot-ups as of now. His touch was OK, though it can certainly stand to improve some more – as he shot 73.8% on 168 free throws.

His shooting percentage indicates he certainly can become a real asset as a floor-spacer down the line but was not perfectly reflective of how real a long range shooter he is right now, as most of his misses were considerably short. Carter, Jr. nailed 41.3% of his 46 three-point shots, but at a pace of just 1.9 such attempts per 40 minutes.

He doesn’t play with a particularly impressive motor or toughness disentangling himself from boxouts but was pretty effective crashing the offensive glass thanks to a seven-foot-four wingspan[8] that helps him rebound outside of his area – collecting 12.7% of Duke’s misses when he was on the floor. He also showed a decent second jump fighting for tip-ins – shooting 75% on his 41 putbacks attempts.

Carter, Jr. flashed a dribble drive from the elbow down, lacking an explosive first step but able to maintain his balance through contact, but isn’t suited to attack closeouts and hasn’t yet develop an in between game in terms of stop-and-pop jumpers, step-back jumpers, running floaters or floaters off jump-stops.

DEFENSE

Carter, Jr. was an effective rim protector when he was able to hang back and patrol the lane, which was less challenging for him to do once Duke installed a full time zone.

He has decent short area lateral quickness and was proactive stepping up the front of the basket as the last line of defense. Though not an explosive leaper off two feet in a pinch, he acted as a shot blocking threat thanks to his nine-foot-one standing reach – averaging 3.1 blocks per 40 minutes last season.

Carter, Jr. challenged shots via verticality very well. He has a thick frame some guards will just bounce back off on impact, though at a risk of getting into foul trouble – as he averaged 4.2 personal fouls per 40 minutes. He also proved himself a willing charge drawer.

Carter, Jr. was able to stick with ball handlers from the foul line down in college. When he had less ground to cover, Carter, Jr. developed some awareness shadowing isolations and making preventive rotations that kept the dribble driver from getting all the way to the rim, which he didn’t show earlier in the year when Duke was guarding man-to-man.

When forced to guard out in space, Carter, Jr. flashed some decent nimbleness but doesn’t figure to be suited to venture far away from the basket in the pros. He was able to influence ball handlers on hedges but can’t hustle back to contest effectively at the rim. It’s also unclear how well he can keep action in front if asked to show hard at the three-point line.

Carter, Jr. can bend his knees to get down in a stance some and keep pace on straight line drives in a few matchups but isn’t agile enough to stay in front of shifty types.

He used his length some to get into passing lanes, though nothing at a difference making level – averaging 1.2 steals per 40 minutes.

Carter, Jr. proved to be a stout post defender and was attentive to his boxout responsibilities but isn’t exceptionally quick chasing the ball off the rim – collecting 23.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.

He had the best defensive rating among rotation players on a team that ended up ranked ninth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.


[1] According to Duke’s official listing

[2] DOB: 4/16/1999

[3] According to sports-reference

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to measurements at this year’s NBA Combine

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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Gary Trent, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • One of those prospects who would have been better off going straight from high school to the pros if he had that option.
    • Was the 8th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1] but is now expected to go in the second round.
  • Has accumulated a decent deal of experience for a 19-year-old[2]:
    • 1,253 NCAA minutes at Duke;
    • 276 minutes defending the United States National Team at the 2015 U16 FIBA Americas and 2016 U17 FIBA World Cup;
    • 399 minutes at the 2015 and 2016 adidas Nations and the 2015 Nike Global Challenge;
    • An appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.
  • Averaged 17.2 points per 40 minutes[3] on 52.7% effective shooting and compiled a 15.9 PER in 37 appearances last season[4].
  • Duke played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +22.2 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor[6].
  • Six-foot-six wing whose primary role was to space the floor for Marvin Bagley III’s and Wendell Carter, Jr.’s post-ups but had opportunities to take shots on the move coming off screens and sprinting to the ball on dribble hand-offs as well. Also got the eventual isolation from time-to-time.
    • Reasonably high 19.4% usage-rate for someone who was assisted on 68.9% of his field-goals.
  • Acted as a weak-side defender earlier in the season, one not stressed to do much. Did poorly when forced to guard on the ball. Has below average length for someone his height and doesn’t fly to create events.
    • Was part of the problem that led to Duke installing a full time zone defense for the second half of the season, despite the handful of high end prospects that team featured.

OFFENSE

  • Other than weak-side spot-ups, relocating around the wing and drifting to the corner, proved he is able to take shots on the move; coming off screens, sprinting to the ball on dribble hand-offs and slipping to the three-point line as the screener on the pick-and-pop. Sets feet quickly, has a quick trigger and fully extends himself for a high release.
    • Nailed 40.2% of his 241 three-point shots, at a pace of 7.7 such attempts per 40 minutes.
    • Hit 87.6% of his 97 foul shots.
  • Can run a basic side pick-and-roll to keep the offense moving but hasn’t shown much of anything in terms of court vision.
    • Assisted on just 6.7% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor.
  • In isolation, can go behind the back in a pinch and pivot into a well-coordinated spin to create separation or gain momentum forward to launch step-back jumpers, floaters off jump-stops and running floaters, though isn’t all that efficient at them.
    • Hit 33.6% of his 131 mid-range shots[7].
  • Has difficulty getting all the way to the basket off the dribble. Has a loose handle, isn’t very quick with the ball and can’t bully his way forward through contact.
    • Took just 12.9% of his shots at the rim and earned just 3.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.
  • Isn’t an explosive leaper in traffic but can adjust his body in the air for acrobatic finishes around rim protectors and play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense on backdoor cuts.
    • Converted his 36 shots at the basket at a 65.5% clip, with 17 of his 36 makes assisted.
  • Low turnover player due to role as a gunner.

DEFENSE

  • Too spaced out in isolation defense, lacking the lateral quickness to stay in the front and not using the strength in his 209-pound frame[8] to contain dribble penetration through contact.
  • Dies on picks at the point of attack and doesn’t hustle back to try making plays challenging or contesting from behind.
  • Struggles chasing shooters off screens and flies by on closeouts, exposing the defense behind him.
  • Has a below average six-foot-eight wingspan[9] for someone his height but showed decent instincts jumping passing lanes for deflections and interceptions.
    • Averaged 1.4 steals per 40 minutes.
  • Not always attentive to his responsibilities rotating in to crowd the area near the basket and isn’t much of an asset to help protect the rim.
  • Contributed only marginally in the defensive glass.
    • Collected 10.2% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.
  • Had the third worst defensive rating on the team.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 1/18/1999

[3] According to sports-reference

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to Duke’s official listing

[9] According to Draft Express

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Trevon Duval Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Disappointing year in college. Arrived at Duke as the sixth-ranked player in the 2017 high school class[1] but should end up a second round pick.
  • Averaged just 13.8 points per 40 minutes[2] on 21.2% usage rate due to a very lousy .473 effective field goal percentage and compiled a below average 13.0 PER in 37 appearances last season[3].
  • Reasonably experienced for a 19-year-old[4]:
    • 1,100 minutes of NCAA experience;
    • 242 minutes at the 2015 and 2016 adidas Nations;
    • An appearance at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.
  • Duke played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had only a +2.1 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor, which was the second-worst net rating on the team[6].
  • Six-foot-three lead guard who as the triggerman of an attack that focused more heavily on getting its two dominant big men the ball in the post and its shooters touches off screens on the side of the floor.
    • Was relied on to space the floor upon giving up the ball but struggled to make shots away from the basket, losing his place in the starting lineup at one point before eventually recovering it.
    • Kept things moving and got to the rim very well in pick-and-roll with a spaced floor, though shot poorly there as well.
    • Averaged 29.8 minutes per game on a team that ranked third in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency.
  • Given his combination of size and athleticism, was expected to be a good-to-great defender but that wasn’t the case at all.
    • Wasn’t the only problem but it’s fair to say he was part of the reason why Duke installed a full time zone for the second half of the season, despite the fact it had five guys who will be given multiple chances to fail in the pros.

OFFENSE

  • Possesses a very appealing combination of skill and quickness off the dribble, with or without the aid of a pick. Has an explosive first step and is sudden enough to split double teams at the point of attack. Shifty; can go between the legs in a pinch, crossover into burst and euro-step to maneuver his way through traffic in the lane. Has a good handle and decent upper-body strength to maintain his balance through contact against defenders who can stay on his hip.
    • Took 44.5% of his shots at the rim[7], though earned just 3.2 free throws per 40 minutes.
  • Did some advanced work in pick-and-roll; proved able to pass over the top out of traps, play with pace against hedges waiting for driving lanes to open up and snake his way back to a spot around the foul line.
  • Not a genius who anticipates passing lanes a split-second before everyone else but proved to be a good passer on the move; can kickout, drop-off, deliver a pocket pass and make a wraparound pass among the trees.
    • Assisted on 30.2% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor.
  • High turnover player due to attempting high risk passes as times.
    • Averaged 3.7 turnovers per 40 minutes.
  • Disappointing finisher; used his length to over-extend around rim protectors on finger-roll finishes, can finish through contact and flashed a floater to finish over length from the in-between area but isn’t an explosive leaper off one foot going up in traffic, can’t hang in the air and struggled with his touch at rim level.
    • Shot 55.8% on 154 attempts at the rim, with over a fifth of his makes assisted.
  • Couldn’t make a shot; off the dribble, off the catch and from the foul line. Mechanical release, doesn’t always launch the ball from the same spot and struggles with his touch.
    • Shot 29% on 107 three-point shots, at a pace of 3.9 such attempts per 40 minutes;
    • Shot 36.5% on 85 two-point shots away from the basket;
    • Shot 59.6% on 89 free throws.

DEFENSE

  • In his most engaged moments, proved capable of keeping pace in one-on-one defense and chasing opponents off screens.
  • But for the most part, too spaced out and often gets blown by out in space. Doesn’t use the strength in his 186-pound frame[8] to contain dribble penetration and gambles for strips on reach-around’s.
    • Averaged two steals per 40 minutes.
  • Flashed decent pick-and-roll defense earlier in the year; iced the action towards the sideline and got skinny navigating over screens on the middle of the floor.
  • Gets burned backdoor from time-to-time and does poorly on closeouts more often than not.
  • Wasn’t asked to switch or cross-match onto bigger players, whether it’s wings or big men. Has a six-foot-nine wingspan[9] to potentially be able to do it but frame needs to mature some more.
  • Contributed very little on the glass, even for a point guard.
    • Collected just 4.9% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor.
  • Had the worst defensive rating on the team

[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] According to RealGM

[4] DOB: 8/3/1998

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to Duke’s official listing

[9] According to Draft Express

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Marvin Bagley, III Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Marvin Bagley, III was the top prospect in the 2017 high school class[1].

Even though he was a late addition, not making his decision to reclassify and join Duke until mid-August, the 19-year-old[2] adapted right away to the highest level of college basketball and was the number one priority in the offense from day one.

Though he projects as a center in the pros, the six-foot-11, 234-pounder[3] played just about every minute with another true big man in the lineup. As a result, opponents matched up their stronger big on the pure center and often designated lighter, smaller types to guard Bagley, which Duke consistently viewed as an opportunity to explore getting him to work mostly below the foul line.

His 25.9% usage-rate led the team and he proved to be worth of those touches. In his 1,118 minutes in Durham, Bagley averaged 24.8 points per 40 minutes on 64% effective shooting and had the highest offensive rating on a team[4] that ranked third in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency[5].

And yet, so much of the intrigue over him isn’t over his production but the way he looks. Bagley is incredibly smooth for someone his size, which influences how he is often seeking to take opposing big men off the dribble.

He is not the sort of modern prototype who can draw his man to the perimeter and shake him side-to-side but Bagley has a very quick first step for a big man and has proven he can get by his man from the high post down.

On top of that, he is an explosive leaper and figures to be an excellent pick-and-roll finisher, while also flashing a three-point shot that looks very fluid.

The concerns regard the other end, where many people question his ability to protect the rim, which in turn lead to questions over his ability to anchor an above average defense. His shot blocking numbers were underwhelming and he didn’t show particularly impressive instincts anticipating rotations.

Duke’s struggles on defense through the non-conference part of the schedule led to Mike Krzyzewski installing a full time zone during the second half of the season, which was incredible to see, given that team had a handful of players who will be given multiple chances to fail in the pros. Bagley wasn’t the only reason why they eventually resorted to that strategy but he was part of the problem.

If he doesn’t develop and has to play with a center by his side more often than not, Bagley probably won’t be considered as much of a difference maker, though it might end up being the most appropriate end game. Thanks to his athletic prowess, he impressed in instances where activity was required of him and projects as someone who will offer flexibility by picking up smaller players on switches often.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 3/14/1999

[3] According to Duke’s official listing

[4] According to our stats’ database

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

Marques Bolden Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Marques Bolden was the 16th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1] but logged only 157 minutes in his first year at Duke, missing the first month due to injury and then struggling to make a positive impact once he did get on the court.
    • He averaged just 6.5 minutes per game as a freshman and logged more than seven minutes in just one of his last 12 appearances in the season.
  • The 19-year-old[2] is off to a much better start as a sophomore, having already logged 151 minutes in his first 12 appearances over the first month-and-a-half.
  • The six-foot-11 center is a bruising old school type who is only effective near the basket on both ends, yet to develop perimeter skills or to show enough nimbleness to defend above the foul line.
  • Though the pro game is going away from players with his profile, dominant forces near the goal can still have a small role in the backend of the rotation. But they have to be dominant. Bolden is not there yet but players with his combination of size and strength at his age are the ones with a shot of developing into such types down the line.

SIZE & STRENGTH

  • Bolden uses the strength in his 245-pound frame to get a deep seal in the low post consistently and relies on power moves to back his way into close-range looks.
  • 50% of his live ball attempts have been at the basket this season and he’s converted them at a 70% clip[3].
    • Disappointingly, he’s only averaging 3.7 foul shots per 40 minutes[4], though.
  • Bolden is not a high energy big but can set inside position in the offensive glass and has a seven-foot-six wingspan[5] to rebound outside of his area – collecting 13.5% of Duke’s misses when he’s been on the floor this season.
    • He’s shown a decent second jump but doesn’t have much lift going back up strong in a crowd – converting his seven putback attempts at only a 60% clip.
  • Bolden can hold his ground in the post and is a tough presence to finish around when he is well set, given his decent quickness elevating off two feet out of a standstill position and his nine-foot-four standing reach.
    • He’s averaged 3.2 blocks per 40 minutes this season.
    • Thanks to his effectiveness close to the basket, Bolden is second on the team in defensive rating among rotation players[6].
  • Bolden is attentive to his boxout responsibilities but doesn’t pursue the ball with a lot of intensity often – collecting just 16.6% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor.

SKILL LEVEL & MOBILITY

  • He’s yet to show a particularly diverse set of post moves in terms of working his man out of position patiently with shot fakes, head fakes and spins. His footwork isn’t all that fluid either.
  • His touch on turnaround hooks is iffy, as he’s converted his 20 shots away from the rim at a 30% clip.
    • He’s also missed six of his 14 foul shots this season.
  • Bolden is not a very good option as pick-and-roll finisher. He is a good screener who looks to draw contact but doesn’t roll hard to the basket often and can’t play above the rim as a target for lobs going up in traffic, though it’s fair to point out Duke doesn’t space the floor very well, rarely stretching Marvin Bagley, III or Javin DeLaurier out to the three-point line when one of the two is out there with him.
    • Bolden is more effective setting ball-screens to roll into post position.
  • He is yet to show much of anything in terms of shooting range or being able to facilitate offense from the elbows.
  • Given the specificity of how he can make a positive impact, Bolden has the second worst offensive rating on the team among rotation players.
  • Bolden isn’t all that quick coming off the weak-side in help-defense to challenge shots at the basket.
    • Often a step too late and prone to biting on shot fakes, Bolden is averaging five personal fouls per 40 minutes.
  • He hasn’t yet developed feel for making preventive rotations and keeping dribble drivers from getting to the basket in the first place.
  • Given his frame and iffy mobility, Bolden is not suited for guarding pick-and-rolls above the foul line, nor does he project as an asset to pick up smaller players on switches.
  • He struggles to closeout to the perimeter, so matching up with stretch big men figures to be a problem as well.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] DOB: 4/17/1998

[3] According to hoop-math

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Wendell Carter, Jr. | Marvin Bagley, III

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Gary Trent, Jr. Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Gary Trent, Jr. was the 8th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class[1] but has been asked to play more of a secondary role in his first year at Duke, logging only 18.6% usage-rate[2] in his 394 minutes this season.
  • The six-foot-six, 209-pound wing does almost all of his work on offense as a weak-side floor-spacer who at times participates in the shot creation process with his movement around staggered screens for catches on the side of the floor.
  • In a team with Trevon Duval and Grayson Allen running an offense that prioritizes getting Marvin Bagley, III and Wendell Carter, Jr. touches in the elbows or the low post, Trent, Jr. hasn’t had many opportunities to create for himself or his teammates on the ball, other than emergency situations late in the shot clock.
    • 41 of his 55 field-goals have been assisted.
  • On the other end, the 18-year-old[3] hasn’t been asked to defend on the ball a whole lot, mostly acting as a weak-side defender when Duke plays man-to-man defense.

OFFENSE

  • His shots usually come from him sprinting from the middle of the floor near the baseline to the side off down screens or drifting from the wing to the corner as a spot-up shooter. Duke can also get him a look with one of the guards setting a quick flare screen for him, when a play dies midway through the shot clock.
  • Trent, Jr. is not yet Kyle Korver but has proven he is already decent at taking some of these more difficult types of shots on the move. He can set his feet in a pinch, has a fairly quick trigger off the catch and fully extends himself for a high point in his release. His touch is great as well and he gets good arc in his shot.
  • Trent, Jr. has nailed 38.2% of his 76 three-point shots this season, at a pace of 7.7 such attempts per 40 minutes. He’s also converted 30 of his 32 foul shots.
  • When the opponent has managed to run him off his shot, Trent, Jr. has shown he is coordinated enough to curl around the pick towards the middle of the floor and pull-up for stop-and-pop jumpers off the dribble. He can get enough separation leaning into his man and suddenly stepping back for a fade-away jumper.
  • With two of Marques Bolden, Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter, Jr. out there most of the time, Duke doesn’t offer proper spacing for Trent, Jr. to get all the way to the basket regularly.
    • He is taking just 12.3% of his shots at the rim[4] and averaging just 3.2 foul shots per 40 minutes.
  • Trent, Jr. has a so-so handle and is yet to show much in terms of dribble moves or side-to-side shake but can create enough separation in straight-line isolations or get to his spots off the pick-and-roll to get a shot off. He is yet to prove himself an effective shot maker off the bounce, though, having hit just 31.1% of his 45 two-point jumpers.

DEFENSE

  • Trent, Jr. looks like he should be a good defender. His frame is excellent for someone his age, though his six-foot-eight wingspan[5] is somewhat subpar for a wing defender. He’s also a pretty good athlete who is expected to be able to slide laterally well enough to stay in front and contain dribble penetration.
  • Trent, Jr. has the second worst defensive rating on the team among rotation players[6], though.
  • It’s rare to see him defending on the ball and he might be part of the reason why Duke plays a good deal of zone, though this is just speculation.
  • As a weak-side defender, he is yet to show many instincts making plays in the passing lanes or rotating inside to make himself a presence near the basket.
  • His closeouts are only so-so as well. He should be expected to run shooters off their shots more often.
  • As a defensive rebounder, Trent, Jr. has collected just 10.4% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor – a somewhat disappointing mark, though it’s fair to point out Duke has two dominant big men rebounders on the floor at almost all times.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to sports-reference

[3] DOB: 1/18/1999

[4] According to hoop-math

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Michael Porter, Jr. | Miles Bridges | Grayson Allen

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Wendell Carter, Jr. Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

If Marvin Bagley III hadn’t reclassified and joined Duke in mid-August, perhaps Wendell Carter, Jr. would be a more prominent pro prospect right now.

In Bagley III’s absence, the six-foot-10 center would have probably benefited from extra touches and more notoriety.

Carter, Jr. could have used that bump in his numbers and perception of his dominance because he isn’t quite a perfect fit for the way the game is played in the NBA these days.

The 259-pounder is not an explosive leaper and can’t play above the rim as a target for lobs, so he figures to be a below average option as a pick-and-roll finisher. He is also yet to prove he can space the floor out to the three-point line in a way that truly threatens the opposing defense.

The 18-year-old[1] has mostly played as an old school type who earns most of his scoring working with his back to the basket, though he has flashed traits of perimeter skills that fit more easily with the modern game in terms of handling the ball to facilitate offense on hand-offs and passing on the move as well.

The same is true on the other end where Carter, Jr. is an effective defender close to the basket but whose frame doesn’t seem to make him suited for picking up smaller players above the foul line often, though he’s done reasonably well when tested.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

Even with Bagley III out there as the focal point, Carter, Jr. has been an active participant within Duke’s offense, as his 22.5% usage rate[2] attests, and the bulk of his work is getting done in the post.

Despite his large frame, he has light feet and prefers relying on his skill a lot more than his strength advantage, showing a diverse arsenal of moves and a patient approach setting his man up with shot-fakes, head-fakes and spins in order to finish around them — converting his 66 shots at the rim at a 75.8% clip[3].

Carter, Jr. has great touch on his lefty turnaround hook and has even flashed a turnaround fade-away jumper, though since these are low proposition plays he has finished his two-pointers away from the basket at only a 37.5% clip.

He is getting plenty of touches with his back to the basket, though not quite in the best possible position to succeed because Duke doesn’t space Bagley III out to the three-point line enough and lead guard Trevon Duval can’t shoot. As a result, Carter, Jr. has dealt with double teams a decent amount and shown very good court vision passing out of them — assisting on 10.9% of Duke’s scores in his 314 minutes.

He is a good screener who looks to draw contact but isn’t an explosive leaper out of two feet in a crowd, needing to catch and gather himself before going up strong, so he isn’t much of an alley-oop threat.

Carter, Jr. has been an effective catch-and-score presence on the offensive glass, though. His motor is only OK but he has a seven-foot-three wingspan to rebound outside his area and a decent second jump to fight for tip-ins or 50-50 balls – collecting 13.6% of Duke’s misses when he’s been on the floor and finishing his 16 putback attempts at 85.7% clip.

PERIMETER OFFENSE

He is not being put in the pick-and-pop and isn’t asked to space out to three-point line at all in the half-court but Carter, Jr. has hit a few jumpers as the trailer in transition and facing his defender in the post, which suggest he has room to develop into a real threat to make outside shots regularly at some point in the future.

He has nailed of the 14 three-point shots he’s attempted so far, all wide open looks with plenty of time to set his feet, though just 67.3% of his foul shots. His release is quite slow at this point of his development but his mechanics look comfortable and he certainly has good touch.

His passing, however, is expected to translate more quickly. Carter, Jr. has shown to be a versatile passer with very good court vision for someone his size. Aside from picking apart double teams in the low post, he can facilitate movement handling the ball in the elbows, though perhaps more impressive have been the instances where he’s passed out of the short roll and facing the defense joining the offense late.

INTERIOR DEFENSE

He’s a good defender stationed near the basket, using the strength in his 259-pound frame to hold ground in the post and boxout diligently. Despite not being a high activity player, Carter, Jr. has managed to collect 22.8% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor.

He’s shown good awareness stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense and decent quickness elevating off two feet to protect the rim. Thanks to his nine-foot standing reach, Carter, Jr. is a tough presence to finish around when he is well positioned, able to challenge shots with verticallity or make plays on the ball, as he’s averaged 3.1 blocks per 40 minutes[4].

That proactivity comes at a cost, though, as he’s also prone to biting on shot takes, making himself vulnerable to fouling — averaging 4.4 personal fouls per 40 minutes.

But Carter, Jr. is yet to develop into a help defender who can make preventive rotations that keep the opponent from getting to the basket in the first place and his high shot blocking average hasn’t quite acted as a deterrant or elevated the peformance of Duke’s defense as a whole.

Opponents have taken 31.1% of their shots at the basket, which ranks Duke 90th in the country, and finished these attempts at a 61.1% clip, which ranks them 223rd.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

Carter, Jr. is more nimble than his frame suggests and has handled himself decently when stressed into guarding outside his comfort zone near the basket.

He is certainly mobile enough to keep pace with dribble drivers from the foul line down as they turn the corner out of the pick-and-roll and even managed to slide laterally well enough to stay alive on straight line drives when asked to extend above the foul line from time to time.

Carter, Jr. does not project as an asset to pick up smaller players on switches in the pros but is flexible enough to bend his knees to get down in a stance and has shown some ability to not get completely blown by in isolation at the collegiate level.

[1] DOB: 4/16/1999

[2] According to our stats’ database

[3] According to hoop-math

[4] According to sports-reference

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara