2018 NBA Mock Draft: What if Memphis wins the lottery?

BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Rawle Alkins
BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Rawle Alkins /
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93. . C. Duke. Wendell Carter Jr.. 10. player

The Al Horford comparison died in this year’s playoffs. R.I.P that comparison, January 2018- May 2018. Watching Horford defend the likes of Ben Simmons and Giannis Antetokounmpo then moving on to Joel Embiid or Thon Maker without missing a beat, we’ve seen the incredible, scheme-making difference that Horford’s quickness and strength make on defense. It’s tough to imagine Carter being that player.

Watch him this year at Duke, and you probably noticed that he struggled when the game sped up. That’s to be expected during someone’s freshman season of college as they adjust to the higher level of competition and physicality, but it will only accelerate further as he comes to the pros. He struggled to gain position when he contested drives to the basket, and whenever he had to guard a pick-and-roll in space (not often at the college level), his foot speed still wasn’t quick enough to make life consistently difficult for ball-handlers.

That said, he’s still a valuable player, as anyone who can shoot and defend the rim will be in this era of the NBA. Carter’s value will be dependent upon a team’s ability to pair him with a player who can score and defend smaller players. Carter won’t be defending Simmons types next season, but he can probably develop as a switching defender and shooter, on his way to becoming a valuable modern big man.