The Trail Blazers offseason is upon us, and the 2018 NBA Draft will provide Portland with an opportunity to supplement its roster with a talented youngster. With only the No. 24 pick at their disposal on draft night, the Blazers will look to strike gold by finding an NBA-worthy prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Known for his impressive defense, West Virginia point guard Jevon Carter will be featured in today’s profile.
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 196
- Wingspan: 6’4”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: PG
- Age: 22
- Projected draft range: 32-47
- PPG: 17.3 | Per 40: 20.0
- APG: 6.6 | Per 40: 7.7
- STL: 3.0 | Per 40: 3.5
- RPG: 4.6 | Per 40: 5.4
- FG%: 42.2
- 3P%: 39.3
- FT%: 85.8
It is tough to find a prospect with a better defensive pedigree than Carter in this draft class. A relentless motor and a gift for finding the ball combine to make him a complete nuisance for opponents. The Illinois native overcomes his lack of height with a strong anchor that makes him tough to move. When playing off the ball, Carter is proficient at invading the passing lanes by accurately reading the offense’s intentions. Most impressively, the 22-year-old guard is a tenacious baseline-to-baseline defender.
Carter’s strengths on offense are notable, but don’t stack up nearly as high as his defensive gifts. Armed with a reasonably quick shooting motion, Carter is able to pull up into his shot quickly. Despite shooting below 40 percent from beyond the arc last season, the former Mountaineer’s stellar free throw percentage is a strong indicator of his potential as serviceable three-point shooter at the next level. When he isn’t creating for himself, Carter finds open teammates by keeping his head up when operating within pick-and-roll sets.
The most glaring weakness for Carter relates to his physical stature. At just 6-foot-1, the 22-year-old guard has a fairly limited range of positional options in the NBA. Compounding his lack of height is his average athleticism. Due to his subpar explosiveness, his offensive ceiling will be limited to passing and outside shooting. When attacking inside, Carter is a below-the-rim finisher who struggles to produce points consistently. Along with concerns regarding his offense inside the arc, Carter’s physical limitations will force him into unfamiliar catch-and-shoot situations.
Carter’s final season at West Virginia featured familiar defensive strengths as well as significant growth on offense. Operating as the primary facilitator in Bob Huggins’ offense, Carter nearly doubled his assists per game from the previous season. On defense, the 22-year-old guard captured the National Association of Basketball Coaches Defensive Player of the Year Award for the second consecutive season. Led by their gritty point guard, the Mountaineers made it to the Sweet 16 before being sent home by Villanova.
If you are looking for a prospect who fires the imagination, Carter might not be the player you are searching for. He has a clear skill set that will be useful in the NBA. His relentless motor complements his willingness to learn. He made steady improvements to his offensive game each year. Due to his favorable shooting metrics, it isn’t a stretch to project further improvements in his outside shooting.
Even with all those positives in mind, Carter’s physical limitations put a firm ceiling on his potential. In a best-case scenario, Carter will likely peak as a high-energy backup point guard capable of handling tough defensive assignments.
With Shabazz Napier’s potential departure looming, the Blazers will likely take a long look at the available point guards at pick No. 24. Carter has the potential to blossom into a floor-stretching outside shooter, and he would bring a defensive edge that neither Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum currently possess. But Portland’s backcourt is already lacking size, which could curb their interest in Carter. Along with size issues, the Blazers might be better served to attempt to get back into the second round to secure the 22-year-old guard’s services. At their current position in the first round, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey should be able to find a prospect that has better value.
Do you want to see Carter in a Trail Blazers jersey next season? What prospect would you like to see us highlight next? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com