Now that the season is officially over, it's time to look at the draft prospects of the departing Orange players. Check back for updates as the 2013 NBA Draft draws closer.
Player: Michael Carter-Williams
Position: Point guard
Weight: 185 lbs
2012-13 Stats: 11.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 7.7 APG, 2.8 SPG
Scouting Report: To the shock and surprise of absolutely no one anywhere, Michael Carter-Williams announced on Tuesday that he will enter his name in the 2013 NBA draft. Despite what some may think, this is a good thing. After a break out sophomore campaign, MCW is a virtual lock to be a lottery pick. And with his taste for the finer things in life and the recent destruction of his family's home, MCW could use the extra cash.
Pros: Early scouting reports rave about MCW's size and vision. At 6'6", he can create mismatches against opposing point guards, much like he did against Indiana in the NCAA tournament. Obviously, that advantage won't be as pronounced in the NBA, but it still exists. More than that, his height gives him the ability to defend opposing shooting guards. This, in turn, gives teams that have smaller scoring guards (think Ben Gordon or Kemba Walker) the option to give those smaller players minutes without giving up size on the defensive end.
MCW's vision speaks for itself. He led the nation in assists early in the season at 10+ per game. And though his pace slowed down later and he ultimately finished 5th, 7.7 APG is nothing to sneeze at. And bear in mind, this was with a team that only shot 43.9% from the field overall. Imagine how MCW's assist numbers would have grown with center who could consistently catch and finish. He'll benefit greatly from having NBA caliber teammates to finish those sweet dimes.
Cons: The deficiency that immediately comes to mind is the accuracy of MCW's jump shot. He only shot 29% from three on the season. He also only shot 39% overall which, frankly, is piss-poor for a player of that size who operates primarily in the lane. Most of his shots were off balance leaners and runners, difficult shots made harder by MCW's habit of leaping before he looked.
Then, ironically, is MCW's size. He's tall, yes, but thin at a generously listed 185. He's going to have a tough time guarding in the NBA, especially if he's matched up against opposing shooting guards. He needs 30 or so pounds of muscle to really be at an ideal weight. Luckily, MCW's shortcomings are nothing that can't be solved with a few hundred hours in the gym and some protein shakes.
Pro Comparison: The best-case comparison is Rajon Rondo with a young Jason Kidd's size. Both Rondo and Kidd came into the League with spotty jump shots and both ended up being NBA champions and NBA All-Stars. I'm not sure if those type of accolades are in the cards for Carter-Williams, but there's precedent for successful leads guards with shaky jumpers. More likely MCW ends up in the mold of Shaun Livingston (hopefully without the horrific knee injury).
Draft Prospects: I think the early mock draft projections are really where MCW bottoms out. I'd be shocked if he fell out of the lottery altogether. He just has too much potential and the 2013 draft is on the weak side. Even if MCW doesn't show scouts anything new over the next two months or so, he's a lottery pick. If he can show some consistency with his jump shot, he could propel himself into the top 10, or even 5.