5(ish) targets for the Grizzlies in the 2018 draft

PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 7: Mike Conley /
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Wendell Carter Jr (#34) of the Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Wendell Carter Jr (#34) of the Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Wendell Carter is the fourth or fifth big man off the board according to a lot of mock drafts and NBA writers. I’m here to tell you that this is absurd and Wendell Carter will be one of the top three players from this class looking back.

As the second youngest player in the draft, having just turned 19, he is already the most complete of any of the bigs. He has no major weaknesses and is a phenomenal two-way player like Bagley, Ayton, and Bamba. In the modern version of basketball that we see in today’s NBA, two of the most important skills a big can have are passing and perimeter shooting. Carter is far and away the best passer of the group and he was the only player who shot better than 40-percent from three.

The following chart has the key numbers for all six potential lottery picks. The bottom two in each category are highlighted in red and the top two in green. Carter has more statistical categories in green than anyone on the list and he’s also the only player who had no statistics in red.

Carter can do everything and he does it all at an elite level or close to it.

He’s also one of the, if not the smartest player in the draft, both on and off the court. He plays the game cerebrally, he feels pressure and feels defensively collapsing and has seems to instinctively know where to look to find open shooters. His dad played pro basketball in the Dominican Republic and his mom played college basketball at Ole Miss and it’s clear that his parents instilled a lot of things in him that will carry him a long way, basketball being just one. Wendell graduated from high school with a 3.8 GPA, was a National Merit Scholar, and he chose to play at Duke over Harvard — not something many lottery picks can say.

Wendell Carter is a very different player than Porter and Doncic, but he is the kind of center/power forward who fits today. His passing will help space the floor, he can step out and knock down three’s and he’d benefit tremendously playing with a high-IQ center like Marc Gasol.