Full disclosure: Robert Carter, Jr. is my Harvey Dent... I just believe in the dude even after the events that transpired Thursday night.
And now that he gets the opportunity to work his way on a Western Conference contender... woah baby.
Early Friday morning, it was reported that Carter was unwilling to be a "Draft and stash guy" for several teams in back part of the second round a la Dez Wells a year ago. Carter didn't want to go overseas to continue his basketball career and because of that unwillingness -- of which I can't blame him -- he was reportedly able to sign on as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors who are going to have some holes to fill in their front court with restricted free agents in likes of Festus Ezeli, Harrison Barnes and James McAdoo.
The 22-year old forward who helped Maryland reach this years Sweet Sixteen is an offensive juggernaut that has the ceiling (read: height and length with Carter standing at 6'8" tall with a 7'3" wingspan) to become a quintessential NBA small ball center.
But before we get into that, let's focus on that beautiful offensive repertoire for a bit longer. As a junior, Carter averaged 12.3 on 55% shooting from the field (nearly 64% inside the arch on a team that had four other potential NBA players craving the ball. Just think about that for a second. Carter honestly, was a third or fourth option at best. When the Terps DID let him go to work within 18 feet of the basket, he was an absolute savage. He's an extremely confident shooter no matter where he is on the floor, giving him the potential to be a versatile big that can play the three (if needed), four and five spots on the floor.
While his actual long range game (33.3% last year, 29.7% during his three years in college) needs some work, with the right plan in place, many GM's and scouts believed it can be easily fixed in part because of Carter's soft touch and extraordinary offensive feel for the game. And if there's any team that can help mold that part of his game, it's 100% the Golden State Warriors.
Carter also does a fantastic job of reading what the defense is giving him. It's almost as though you can see him think "Hand Down, Man Down" when faced up against lazy defensive play and "Mouse in the House" when a smaller player is switched onto him.
He can literally do anything you want him to do on offense.
We've already discussed his shooting potential, but Carter has also progressed off the dribble (with his head up, might I add), something he will need to surely perfect for those moments when he finds himself matched up against bigger forwards and centers in the league. He's also extremely active on the weak side of the court and is always looking for easy dump passes when his teammates attack the rim.
He's just one of those players that can go HAM no matter the defense you're playing. He's just got that feel.
Defensively, well there's the rub. He's not bad, per se, he's just not the best. Being able to play both sides of the ball is extremely important if he plans on making a splash on one of the Warriors vaunted "Death Lineups" and while Carter might grade out as an elite scorer for his position, it will be the work he puts in on the defensive end, I assume, that will be the difference between wearing that Dubs jersey the rest of the season or being forced overseas anyways.
If he just stops taking plays off, he'd probably make a leap without having to really even do anything. After going back and watching a few of Maryland's better games the past couple of weeks, I noticed that when Carter was fully engaged, he never hurt the Terps defensively (especially when you take into account the offensive output). But there were so many times when he would just lose track of what his assignment was.
I would hate to see more white boards lose their lives over those mental lapses.
With his mind right, Carter is intriguing at least. He has the length to guard multiple positions and has quick hands to boot. He's also a pretty nifty shot blocker for someone that wouldn't be described as an "above the rim" type player. If he can just find a way to put the same drive into his defensive game as he does in his scoring, I truly believe that he can carve out a nice little niche with the Warriors.
I believe buddy.