Carrick Felix made quite the impression at the Vegas Summer League earlier this month.
Felix’s stats were not overwhelming by any means, averaging 7.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, but his play on the defensive end impressed many at the Summer League. He also had some breakout games, scoring 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting (2-3 from behind the arc) in the Cavaliers first game, as well as adding an 11 rebound performance two days later in Cleveland’s second contest.
At 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Felix’s 38.5″ vertical and quick first step make him very explosive in a slashing role. He draws comparisons of Jimmy Butler, the Bulls 30th overall pick in 2011, and he really reminds me of Iman Shumpert, especially with his improved 3-point shooting; he raised his percentage 6% from his junior to senior year, hitting 37.4% from downtown in his final season at Arizona State. Ball-handling seems to be the biggest weakness for the 22-year-old, but with the roster the Cavaliers are boasting and Felix’s style of play, this should not be a huge concern.
The 33rd overall pick claims he loves playing defense, which should really help his chances making the 15-man roster for the upcoming Cavaliers season, especially with new coach defensive-minded Mike Brown. Rebounding will be the key to Felix’s success with the Cavs. At his size and position, he has the opportunity to get a lot of boards over smaller opponents. This team already should be a tough rebounding team.
Anderson Varejao, who was the NBA’s leading rebounder before he had to cut his season short with a blood clot in his lung, along with Tristan Thompson (9.4 rpg), Tyler Zeller (5.7 rpg), and new addition Andrew Bynum, should prove to be a force on the glass. Along with fellow rookie Anthony Bennett and veteran Alonzo Gee, Felix should help the Cavaliers dominate on the boards.
As long as Felix can defend at the quickness level of the NBA and hit the open three, he should be a player that will push the Cavaliers by demonstrating a similar work ethic he showed at Arizona State University. This player is the type that will do the dirty work and whatever it takes to make the team better.