G/F, Texas Tech
Culver has entered into a completely new situation this year in Lubbock, Tex., than he faced last season for a Red Raiders squad that made it to the Elite Eight. The sophomore did start last season but played a 3-and-D role for that team, competing on defense and making open shots. Even then, he was an enticing draft prospect but few expected him to transform into a lead playmaker so quickly.
Nevertheless, Culver is doing just that for another great Texas Tech team. ESPN reported this week that Culver has added over 20 pounds of muscle the past two seasons in addition to growing a few inches. Now, Culver stands 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, solid but not athlete measurements for a wing. But what if Culver isn’t a wing at all?
That same ESPN draft roundup posits the comparison of Culver and Clippers rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. What if Culver is closer to this full-time playmaker in the NBA than his role as a freshman? Such a change would mean the world to Orlando, which has a problem at point guard and prefers long, athletic players at every position. Securing Culver in the backcourt would be a dream come true for general manager John Hammond and Co.
Imagine the length and versatility of a Jarrett Culver-Aaron Gordon-Jonathan Isaac-Mo Bamba lineup on defense. Yeesh.