Michael Carter-Williams: Phoenix Suns 2013 NBA Draft profile

Posted by on June 8th, 9:48 am

Strengths

After blowing up during his sophomore season at Syracuse, Michael Carter-Williams is in theory that rare breed of point guard. Standing 6-foot-5, he’s a truly elite playmaker whose 7.3 assists per game during his 2012-13 season came by playing a very NBA-like style. He can pass with the left or right and has the ball handling abilities that are excellent for a player his size.

Carter-Williams projects as a great pick-and-roll player, and his height and 6-foot-7 wingspan gives him the ability to make passes around and over defenders. Additionally, he’s a solid athlete who again has the skillset to be a great dribble-drive scorer if the help defense doesn’t come.

Question marks

A small sample size makes Carter-Williams a mystery. Even though he played well and succeeded in the Big East, he played only 10 minutes per game as a freshman and likely has a steeper learning curve simply because of his limited experience. At 21 years old, Carter-Williams isn’t as young as a sophomore might normally be, however.

Strength might be an issue as well. He weighed in at 184 pounds at the combine, and on Thursday Carter-Williams defended his stature with how well he performed in the Big East.

“The Big East is physical,” Carter-Williams said. “The guys there are big and strong …. it prepared me for the best.”

To his defense, Carter-Williams did bench press at the combine eight times.

Skill-wise, the biggest issue for the former Orangeman comes in his jump shot and lack of scoring ability. He averaged 11.9 points per game as a sophomore but shot below 40 percent from the floor and below 30 percent from the college three-point line. His 69.4 percent free throw shooting was also an indicator of his work-in-progress shot.

X-factor

The ability for Carter-Williams to progress and mature will likely swing his draft stock and NBA future. He has all the tools to become a very good NBA player but his lack of a jumper is the most indicative of the room to grow. By all accounts, he can and will improve, which is why the Suns worked out Carter-Williams and why his projected stock is where it is – in the lottery.

And if any of his question marks need be answered before June 27, working out with fellow Thursday Suns workout attendee C.J. McCollum in Long Island to prepare for the draft is a good start. McCollum, a senior who played at LeHigh, is probably as good a workout partner for Carter-Williams because his strengths — shooting and maturity — are the Orangeman’s weaknesses.

How he’ll fit with the Suns

Phoenix worked out some of the draft’s best point guards because they’re going to take the best available player. If Carter-Williams ends up competing with Goran Dragic or Kendall Marshall, the development of either of the younger two players would give the Suns options for trade. And he truly is a combination of both Dragic and Marshall – he’ll be an attacking scoring point guard a la Dragic once he adds strength but also has something close to Marshall’s passing ability.

And if the jump shot is the only thing to really change how good he can be, there’s no better fit than giving coach Jeff Hornacek a project to start with on a ground-up type of way.

And 1 … a second-rounder to consider

How about Missouri point guard Phil Pressey? The Suns worked him out on Friday, and if the team is looking for a third point guard should they not hand Diante Garrett a contract for next year – or draft a point guard with the other two picks – he could be a steal. While a bit undersized, Pressey was one of college basketball’s most respected point guards coming into last season. His stock fell as quickly as Missouri’s season, but he already displayed a Chris Paul-like control as a point guard for the Tigers.

Friday workouts

Matthew Dellavedova — G 6-4, 185 pounds (senior, St. Mary’s)

Ian Hummer — F 6-7, 230 pounds (senior, Princeton)

CJ Leslie — F 6-9, 209 pounds (junior, NC State)

Korie Lucious — G 5-11, 170 (senior, Iowa State)

Rodney McGruder — G 6-5, 201 pounds (senior, Kansas State)

Phil Pressey — G 5-11, 177 pounds (junior, Missouri)

Kevin Zimmerman is the lead blogger and editor for Valley of the Suns. He is also editor of AZDesertSwarm.com, an Arizona Wildcats\’ blog, and a contributor at SB Nation and Pac-12.com.

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Tags: Phoenix Suns

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott // Jun 8, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Some players are getting big hate in this draft …

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/blog/doug-gottlieb/22333162/nba-draft-buyer-beware-on-shabazz-muhammad

  • 2 foreveris2long // Jun 8, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Suns are looking at a lot of point guards and understandably so because I think there is a fair amount of talent there this summer. I am glad they are also exploring trade possibilities for another 1st round pick.

  • 3 foreveris2long // Jun 8, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Scott, Doug Gotlieb, who I respect was brutal in his assessment of Bazz. D’Breezy has probably attacked the stock fall of Bazz more than most so it will be interesting to get his take on the article.Only because it is a weak draft do I think Bazz could still be a lottery pick (Detroit likes him and Bennett). While I doubt he drops out of the first round, he is a bad defender without a lot of athleticism, suspect handles and attitude. Although I did not see the game, Jamal Franklin supposedly gave Shabazz a beat down this season when UCLA played San Diego State.

    Thanks for the article Scott.

  • 4 Michael McNamara // Jun 8, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Would you guys do:

    Jared Dudley, 30th pick, and the Lakers 2015 pick for the #6 pick?

    - Curious Pelican fan

  • 5 Scott // Jun 8, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I’ve complained about Shabazz’s shortcoming as well, but Gottlieb’s piece was more like a personal assassination.

    Theoretically, all you need to do to stop Muhammad is make him put the ball on the floor. That will unravel his whole game.

    And yet … he’s young and has a reputation for being driven. He doesn’t sound like he has a low IQ. So it’s rational to assume he can add to his game.

    I thought it was interesting that the instruction he was getting pre-draft involved learning some of Harden’s moves.

    The question with any of these young guys is … will they learn, or will they bullheadedly persist in using the small skill set they already have? Hard to tell with the one-and-dones, but they clearly have the greatest potential.

  • 6 Scott // Jun 8, 2013 at 11:24 am

    @Michael McNamara -

    Heck no. Not in this draft. To me there’s not all that much difference between #6 and #30.

  • 7 Scott // Jun 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

    ^^ Just to clarify, I’d like for the Suns to collect picks in this draft, but only if they can do so cheaply, and only because of the unusual position the Suns find themselves in this year (rebuilding).

    So if the Suns can buy a first rounder for cash, that would be fine. If the Suns can trade a player for a first rounder (and maybe some additional assets, like a second round pick), that would be okay too.

    But there isn’t anyone in this draft I’d want the Suns to go crazy trying to get. Most teams would be better off ignoring this draft and focusing on the free agent market.

  • 8 foreveris2long // Jun 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Mike, I mirror Scott’s thoughts on trading for the Pelican’s 6th pick. Someone might be selected at 30 who is better than the person selected at #6. Then when you add the likely demise of the Lakers should Howard leave and Kobe nearing retirement, there is no way Suns give up Laker’s pick in 2015. However I will say you probably did not get the memo that Blanks is no longer on Planet Orange because he probably would have done that deal.

  • 9 DBreezy // Jun 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    @Foreveris and Scott,

    I saw that article and honestly didn’t think much of it more than what Scott said about character assassination. Kind of reminded me of last year when there were a bunch of articles calling Barnes fake and being more concerned with his brand growth than being a basketball player. Of course like most things in hoops these days they had to tie to Lebron and blamed Barnes growing up idolizing Lebron for his ‘woes’. I think CLE would be feeling pretty good right now about taking BMac if they had taken Barnes instead of Waiters last season.

    Gottlieb could have saved everyone a lot of time if he had just said that he doesn’t like Bazz as a prospect, which is fine. But to rip him so hard that you say you wouldn’t take him in the 1st round at all pretty much zaps all of your credibility and shows why you do what you do what you do. Plus to call him ‘nothing’ more than a great competitor is laughable in a day and age of one and done stars and projects who often aren’t competitors and have poor work ethic. It’s even more laughable in a draft where people are touting Oladipo as high as number 2 primarily off those two traits.

    In the end, age flap aside, he’s a dude who’s one year out of high school experience wise. He played for a good coach with a tough system that is notoriously tough on new players and he put up solid numbers on a team that I think went 25-10. He’s no BMac athletically, but like Harden pre-draft he appears to be more athletic basketball wise than he’s given credit for and should get more so as his body matures on a NBA training program. He’s not a complete NBA offensive player yet, but looking at most of the top two guards in the league these days few were close to complete when they came in the league. Nature of the beast these days. He needs work on D for sure, but I don’t think he’s a lost cause. It’s not like he’s Adam Morrison or anything. He needs to keep doing work similar to what he’s doing in Santa Barbara and he needs to play for a coach that’s going to teach and demand that he play D. That largely goes for most players. When you look at the top defensive teams in the league, it’s not like the majority of the guys on those teams are all great individual defenders. The Spurs won three chips when Parker was a much, much worse individual defender than he is now for example.

    It’s not a reason for the Suns to draft him, but word is that Minny likes Bazz(VO too) along Detroit and that might be a really nice fit for him and not such a nice fit for those of us who are fans of Western Conference teams. While I’m not ready to say that the Suns should take him at 5, I’m comfortable that he’s squarely in the mix for McD either there or with another pick and that’s all I care about. I don’t want the hype/rumors of the moment to keep the team from honestly considering everybody, something I think has happened in the past here in PHX.

  • 10 Scott // Jun 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    BTW, I like Hornacek’s emphasis on work, and finding players who have that attitude.

    Looking at Hornacek in the draft workout videos, I found myself wondering if the Suns have finally found a coach to keep for a long time.

  • 11 Miguel // Jun 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    41 inch vertical?? And he’s also up there in agility tests…he’s a beast, and i woukd totally understand if we took him.

  • 12 DBreezy // Jun 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    While I’m a draftnik (duh!) the decision with this #5 pick has become more interesting than I imagined it would be. While certain players like BMac, VO, Bennett, and Porter theoretically would have to fall to 5 for the Suns to have make a decision, what about the other guys?

    Even though Burke and his agent are trying to treat their workouts like he’s a top 3 pick by not going against anyone, I don’t know that there is a whole lot of separation on boards right now between Burke, Len, McCollum, Bazz, MCW, and Zeller. Even though a guy you like might appear to have lower stock than the 5th pick, I think it’d be very risk to trade down ahead of the draft a la the Iggy/Deng pick. Those kinds of moves would seem best done on draft day even though you obviously run the risk of what happened with Curry although I think this front office is shrewder.

    While they haven’t specifically ragged on any current player, both McD and Horny inserting the fact that the team only won 25 games last season which seems like the polite way of saying noticeable changes are coming be it on draft day or beyond. I’m interested to see how active they are on the trade market. Their sudden public proclamation of love for VO definitely seems primed to see if they can get a team like Minny to offer something interesting to them.

    While I kind of doubt that they can get an acceptable trade together for an additional top 10 pick before the draft, I wonder if they’ll consider moving one or more vets for late-lottery or mid first rounders in hopes of packaging them for an additional top ten pick on draft day when things are clearer? While I’m sure they’re on the lookout for a top guy to slip, I get the feeling that they’re pretty happy with the players in the MCW, Burke, Len, Bazz, McCollum, Zeller, and maybe Gobert group and are just wondering if they can grab some combo of two of those guys.

    Worse case scenario if all they get is additional mid-1st picks, they end up adding more players to a squad they probably want to mix up anyway. The situation Houston had pre-Harden trade would probably be welcome here right now.

  • 13 Miguel // Jun 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    He actually tested better in the lane agility test than the smaller Trey Burke, who i really like.

  • 14 Forever is2long // Jun 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Absolutely DBreezy this front office including the new coach is more shrewd than its predecessor despite the fact Sarver and Babby still exist. What is funny IMO is Coro keeps suggesting the Suns will take Bennett in his mock drafts which I think he is throwing off the masses. If teams knew who the Suns wanted they would be trading to leap frog the Suns to get their guy. I do not know if it is deliberate or not but I love how no one on Planet Orange is exposing their hand.

    As I have said before,they seem committed to getting someone with star value if such exist but yet are exploring avenues to also steal someone with an acquired draft pick. We will see how McD performs but I like his perceived intelligent aggression.

  • 15 DBreezy // Jun 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    @Foreveris,

    Yup. There are a lot of players that they’ve brought in that they’ve basically said zero about other than broad generalities while the local media runs around fawning over B-Mac and VO. They definitely like one or more of the guys they aren’t saying anything about imo.

  • 16 bill.thomas // Jun 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Eureka !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Blanks should easily be able to find a job in the local media !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 17 Azbballfan // Jun 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    If i was McMiracle i would take the 6th overall pick for Dudley, number 30 and the Lakers pick and heres is why

    Dudley needs to be moved, might as well get him to a decent team and get something for him

    The 30th pick is unlikely to be worth much in this draft

    Yes, we wont know what the Lakers will look like in 2015 draft

    But it likely doesnt matter, that 2015 pick is something like top 10 protected

    so, unless the 2015 draft is really deep, the most we would be getting out of that draft is a late lotto pick

    Thats if the Lakers totally implode

    I would rather ditch salary and save money on a future free agent or amnesty signing and get a 6th overall pick and get someone really damn good then hope and wait the Lakers completely disintergrate and we get a late lotto pick

    If the pick however does turn out to be not protected at all, then no i dont know if i want to do this deal

    What about giving them Minnys protected pick for next year?

    BTW, i think drafting Michael Carter Williams 5th overall would be a disaster, unless McMiracle has some larger plan in place

    Williams would just duplicate the strengths and weaknesses of dragic and marshall

    Plays, great D, passes well, has great size, but isnt that athletic, cant shoot well, turnover prone

    the only way i would pick williams is if this is part of a larger deal where the Suns completely start over and trade dragic and marshall, making williams the starter as a rookie and garrett as the backup

    Thats the only way this makes sense, cause i dont think Willaims can shift over to SG and i think Dragic is better at PG than SG

    grab Olidipo or Len if he is there

    dont reach for somebody at number 5 unless you have a great reason to

    even if Williams duplicates dragics 14, 7, 3 boards and a steal and a half a game, wouldnt we just be spinning our wheels?

    now, if the Suns want to trade Gortat and Dragic on draft night for lotto picks and make a new backcourt with Williams and Oladipo sure

    if thats the plan, great but if its not stay away

    buyer beware

    hopefully the suns can swap picks 30 for 27 and trade jared dudley to new york for number 24

    trade Gorat for number 10 and trade Dragic to Sacto for number 7

    i would do those deals in a heart beat

    that would give us number 5, number 7, number 10, number 23, and number 27 plus 57

    I would pick

    Oladipo at 5

    Anthony Bennett at number 7

    Gobert or Adams at number 10

    then go with Franklin and Nemaj Nedovic at #23 and 27

    pick whoever at 57

    that would give us a lineup of

    Dragic, Oladipo, Franklin, Bennett, and Gobert or Adams

    backups are Nedovic and whoever we get at 57

    followed by some veteran FAs

    if you really want to tank for next year, just put out 4 rookies on the court

    Its really not going to matter at this point, the Suns werent going to win anything next year anyway

    Might as well tank for Wiggins or Parker or Randle and move someone to the 2nd unit 6th man role in 2014-2015

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