Point Guard, 6’6″, 185 lbs.
Sophomore, Syracuse University
21 years old
2012-13 Stats: 11.9 PPG (38.9% FG, 69.4% FT, 29.2% 3FG), 4.9 RPG, 7.3 APG, 2.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 3.4 TOPG
STRENGTHS: Michael Carter-Williams is arguably the best playmaker in the draft, and his combination of size (6’6) and athletic skills (41 inch max vertical) make him a very intriguing prospect. Kings fans may be wary about trusting tall guards as playmakers (Tyreke Evans, anyone?) but Carter-Williams is as true a point guard as you’ll find in the 2013 class. His assist percentage was 40.1% and he led the NCAA in both assists and minutes played. Syracuse’s zone defense rarely produces the best defensive players at the NBA level, but Carter-Williams might be an exception – he averaged 2.8 steals a contest (again, tops in the league) which is exceptional considering the zone style. He’s already an above-average defender and his size and length should make him an adequate cover for NBA points and even some shooting guards. He didn’t play in an exceptionally fast tempo offense, although he’s good on the fast break. He’s a true floor general with very nice vision and play making abilities, as long as the plays he’s making are to his teammates.
WEAKNESSES: While he’s an above-average passer and possesses a high basketball IQ, Carter-Williams lacks any semblance of NBA-level scoring prowess. He shot 38% from the field last season and a dismal 29.2% from three. His true shooting percentage is a truly horrid 49.1 percent – for comparison, Trey Burke’s was 56.9% and C.J. McCollum was 62.9%. ESPN’s Chad Ford says that Carter-Williams has been working on fixing his shot and has improved in one-on-none workouts, but his scoring ability is still a MAJOR concern. He may be the top assist man in the class, but it isn’t over-exaggerating to say that Carter-Williams is also one of the worst shooters. While his athleticism and size are above average, his foot speed is just about average.
HOW HE’D FIT WITH THE KINGS: The Kings were tied for 27th in the league last year in assists per game at 16.1 per game. Carter-Williams’ would present the Kings with a true floor leader whose first priority is to set up his teammates. In terms of assist percentage, none of the Kings players were in the top 50 for assist percentage (Isaiah Thomas was ranked 61st at 24.6%). As much as we all love Thomas, having another tall guard who doesn’t struggle to defend bigger opponents would help the Kings defensive, especially considering Carter-Williams’ defensive potential. His shooting woes are absolute negative and wouldn’t help Sacramento’s already low 53.2% true shooting percentage, but adding in a real playmaker like Carter-Williams and hopefully a coherent offense game plan could turn that tide around.
BRYANT – Yes. My infatuation with Carter-Williams has reached draft-crush status as I watch more and more tape. A friend mentioned a likeness to Shaun Livingston, which is both a common and apt comparison. He’s a high-risk/high-reward prospect who would fit the Kings well with his floor general skills and defensive abilities. His shooting is a major concern, but the Kings have enough raw-scoring potential. For pure point guards though, Trey Burke handily beats Carter-Williams on my Big Board.
SCOTT LEVIN – No. Carter-Williams brings some intriguing tools to the table in terms of his playmaking and size for a point guard, but I’m just seeing way too many holes in his game. He’s not particularly strong or fast, struggles mightily with his own offensive game and was way too careless with the ball for my liking. This isn’t a Tyreke Evans man-child type of point guard who overcame offensive struggles by bullying his way to the rim. MCW struggles inside and out on the offensive end, and I just can’t advocate adding another guard to the Kings mix when I don’t feel he brings a significant upgrade.
WHERE HE GOES: Sacramento at 7 seems his ceiling, and he won’t be drafted until after Trey Burke. If he goes past Sacramento, Dallas (13) or Utah (14) seem reasonable destinations given their point guard needs. If he somehow manages to fall past 14, it could be quite a tumble given that none of the later teen teams (Milwaukee, Boston, Atlanta twice and Chicago) need a point guard. It’s hard to see him falling past Utah at 21.