Originally written on NBA Draft Blog  |  Last updated 10/22/14
Name:  Michael Carter-Williams               Age:   21    School: Syracuse Height: 6’6   Weight: 184   Projected Position: PG            2012-13 Stats: 11.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 7.3 apg, 2.7 spg, 3.5 tpg (35.2 minutes per game) 39.3 FG%, 69.4 FT%, 29.4 3FG%  49.1 TS%, 43.8 eFG%, 40.1 AST%, 22.2 TOV%, 22.2 USG%   SKILLS & ATHLETIC BREAKDOWN Offense Perimeter Shooting Carter-Williams has good form on his jumper up until his release.  He generally does a great job getting square to the basket and he gets great lift from his legs. What he needs to work on is not drifting to either side on his jumper, as well as making sure he has a consistent release.  As he is going to shoot the ball, he looks to release the ball high, but he can tend to shift his shooting hand as he’s getting ready to release the ball, leading to his shots to end up off-target and sometimes with a strange rotation. He has the ability to hit his jumper off the pass or dribble, and if he has time to get set, and he doesn’t let his shooting hand shift, he could be a decent spot-shooter.  While he gets square to the basket quickly off the catch, he needs to work on not rushing the shot and making sure he has a clean look, but at the same time, working on improving his release time. He should come off the screens tighter, giving him more separation to shoot.  Shot selection is decent, though he can actually pass up open jumpers at times because he will let his misses get to him mentally.     Penetration Carter-Williams can be effective when he looks to get into the lane and to the basket.  He uses long strides and his body to shield the ball from defenders.  He has the ability to finish above the rim, and can finish with either hand, though he will often try to force shots with his right hand.  He needs to look to go to his left more often instead of trying to force the action to his stronger right hand.  He sees the floor well and does a good job drawing the help defenders, though he will often wait too long to make a decision about a shot or pass.  At times, he will try to force plays through traffic, leading to turnovers or bad shot attempts.  Carter-Williams uses screens well to attack the basket, and he has improved his first step, allowing him to get to the basket easier in isolation situations.  It will be of some importance for him to become consistent with a floater/short jumper to help him against stronger defenders in the lane. Ballhandling/Passing Carter-Williams is a good ballhandler, able to use both hands well and developing some advanced dribbles to keep the defense off balance.   He has better control with his right hand, keeping the ball low and close to his body, though he does need to watch forcing his dribble through traffic.  However, Carter-Williams needs to work on having the same control with his left hand, and he often tries to force the action to the right.  While he can use his left hand for short distances, I would like to see him look to attack the basket more with his left hand, which will mean improving it.  He is a strong passer from the perimeter and off the dribble, though he needs to make sure to keep his head up and not become locked in on a target. Carter-Williams’ size gives him great looks over the top of the defense from the perimeter and allows him many more options to move the ball off of penetration. Free Throw Shooting Carter-Williams is a below-average free throw shooter. He has a consistent routine and a good motion, but he has a hesitation in his follow-through which leads his shot to drift to either side of the basket.  He needs to watch a tendency to rush his shot at times and make sure he gets his normal extension and follow-through.  Carter-Williams really needs to improve on getting to the line more, including looking to attack the basket more in the halfcourt.    Defense Perimeter Defense (On/Off Ball) Carter-Williams is a good on-ball defender; he positions himself well between his man and the basket, and moves well laterally while covering a lot of distance quickly. Of course, it is often tough to judge many defensive skills when you play zone exclusively. He does a good job getting low and not getting caught standing straight up. He reacts well to movements, but he has to watch a tendency to overreact and move in one direction to far to stop his man leaving him open to be beat by a crossover to the other direction.  He has shown quick hands and feet, and he won’t hesitate to gamble looking for the steal. Carter-Williams is capable of guarding either guard position. Carter-Williams uses his long arms well to disrupt passing lanes and close on shooters.  Carter-Williams needs to do a better job getting over the top of screens against shooters, often choosing to go under the screen or waiting for another part of the zone to bail him out.  Off the ball, Carter-Williams generally positions himself well, and again, he uses his long arms to disrupt passing lanes, as well as anticipating and jumping passing lanes to get a quick seal.  He will have to show the ability to navigate through screens off the ball.  He has average defensive awareness, and can make some bad decisions.  Rebounding Carter-Williams rebounds well for his size on the defensive side, using his athleticism to get up quickly after missed shots and to chase down long rebounds.  He does a good job boxing out, and he has a good knack for anticipating where misses will go and getting to the spot.  He is quick after long rebounds and looks to push the ball to get the team moving up court.  Transition Carter-Williams is very good in transition, especially pushing the ball quickly up the court. He does a good job keeping his head up and seeing all his options, and he is capable of taking the ball himself to the rim and finishing.  Similar to his issues in the halfcourt, Carter-Williams needs to watch his control and make sure he doesn’t get caught in situations where he left with no options to shoot or pass. Intangibles/Summary If you were to just look at Carter-Williams’ assist numbers this past season, you would likely assume he was much better than he actually was. His turnovers were significantly high for a point guard, and both numbers were very much a product of the Syracuse offense. Still, in the latter parts of the season, Carter-Williams was able to string together some performances that provided a glimpse of the real benefit of a 6’6 point guard. His decision-making is still a work in progress, and his jump shot needs to become much more consistent if he wants to keep defenses from sagging off of him. As with most Syracuse players, there are some concerns about how he handle man defense, but a lot of the traits and skills you want to see out of a good defender, Carter-Williams has shown. With some time to watch and learn the NBA game, there is a chance that Cater-Williams could end up on of the better point guards in the league. He has shown that he is coachable and a hard-worker, so it will all come down to control and decisions.  Draft Value:  Middle 1st –#13-19 Carter-Williams would benefit more from a situation which would allow him to learn from a veteran point guard for a year or two, but the allure of a big point guard may be too much for some teams to pass up. He is certainly the type of player that a team may reach for.   Leave your comments below, or email me – ed@nbadraftblog.com Follow me on Twitter - @NBADraftBlog

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