When Jevon Carter first stepped on the court in a WVU uniform, he wasn’t even a blip on the NBA radar. Now, more than halfway through his senior season, he’s lighting up the court and NBA Draft boards. I asked Sam Vecenie for his input on Carter and his NBA prospects.
He has watched Carter with interest, and believes that Carter should hear his name called in the 2018 NBA Draft. The aspect of his game that stands out the most is the effort he puts in on the defensive side of the court, having won numerous awards for his prowess.
“Carter is, simply put, the best defender at the point of attack in college basketball,” Vecenie said. “With his aggressive hands, quick feet, and thick frame, he has the ability to disrupt even the best lead ball-handlers and push them away from getting to their spots. NBA teams love guards who can change the pace and tenor of the game simply by their entrance, and Carter can do that on defense. His demeanor and mentality on that end will make him someone teammates will want to play with, but the opposition will hate going against.”
Like every well-constructed building, it starts with having a firm foundation. For Carter, that’s his defense. He has built on that over his Mountaineer career, setting the tone on offense and turning into the go-to guy to hit the big shots.
Said Vecenie, “Offensively, his best skill from an NBA perspective is the ability to knock down shots from deep. He’s hit 39 percent of his 236 attempts from 3 over the last two years, and that profiles well for a rotational, secondary role at the next level. He’s improved markedly over his career as a ball-handler, but teams will still want him to do that in as limited a role as possible.”
When you tie it all together, what does this mean for Carter, and who in the NBA would he be compared with?
“That means his best fit will be playing with something of a bigger initiator, a la LeBron James,” Vecenie said. “And to answer your second question, that leads into the kind of player that he reminds me of most. A Matthew Dellavedova-style guard who can come in, play super hard, defend multiple player types, create transition opportunities, and hit shots. Hopefully, he’s avoid some of the dirtier stuff that Dellavedova pulls, but in a limited role that type of player can be very valuable to an NBA franchise and well worth an early second round pick.”
Another fit that I see for Carter is in Charlotte with the Hornets backing up All-Star Kemba Walker. Head coach Steve Clifford is known for putting defense first, often saying that their offense begins with their defense. The team uses Nic Batum (the “bigger initiator” in this case) when Walker is on the bench to initiate the offense and the first and second units blend, taking the ball out of the PG’s hands. The team is in search of a backup PG who is reliable from outside and plays stiff defense. Carter fits that bill.
As West Virginia Mountaineer fans, we often view the world through Gold n’ Blue colored glasses. We watch and cheer on our favorite players and know they will play in the NBA or NFL very soon. Unfortunately, there is a razor thin line between making it in the NBA or having to play professionally overseas.
“It’s all about fit for role players,” said Vecenie. “The thing that has to be realized is that from the 300th-best player in the world to the 700th-best player in the world, there is SUCH a small difference – but only about 40 percent of those guys actually end up making it mathematically. It’s all about timing, finding the right opportunity, and the right schematic fit for your skills.”
The last time the Mountaineers had someone selected in the NBA Draft was in 2010 with Da’Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks. When the NBA Draft is held on June 21st of this year, Jevon Carter should hear his name called. Whichever team who selects him will suddenly find themselves having a whole state and hundreds of thousands of new fans scattered around the United States.