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NBA Draft Profile: Just Where Does Jevon Carter Fit?

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Let’s take a look at the Sultan of Steals for the Mountaineers and his NBA outlook

Marshall v West Virginia Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Jevon Carter was the engine, the heart and the hands in the last four years for Press Virginia. Carter is the epitome of the Mountaineer spirit, figuring out quickly that if he wanted to play, defense would be his calling. Carter put work in day in and day out and transformed himself into national Defensive Player of the Year. Not only was he the defensive machine for the Mountaineers but he was their point guard, leading the team in points per game (17.3), assists per game (6.6), steals per game (3.0), free throw percentage (85.8%) and was second on team in 3-point percentage (39.3%).

Strengths

When you talk about Jevon, the first thing will always be his defense. Jevon possesses extremely quick and strong hands, allowing him to swipe at balls and knock them loose from players who think they have a hold of the ball. Not only are his hands quick, but Carter is intelligent in how he uses them. He doesn’t have to gamble in passing lanes, he is able to catch players trying to cross over or transition leading to turnovers. For his size, Carter was a solid rebounder for the Mountaineers with over 6 rebounds per 40 minutes (adjusted).

Carter’s reputation as a defensive master was on show when the Mountaineers took on Trae Young and the Oklahoma Sooners. Young, who came into the game white-hot was frazzled and frustrated all game as Carter hounded, poked, prodded and kept the phenom off his game.

On the offensive side, Carter is a solid ball handler. He has the ability to penetrate off the dribble then dish to open teammates on the perimeter. Carter improved his shot selection and three-point shot throughout his collegiate career, to the point he was very good when left alone. Catch-and-shoot opportunities were automatic and contested shots were serviceable. Carter was also extremely reliable from the free throw line, making over 85% of his free throw attempts as a senior.

For Carter though, it is all about the defense. Carter’s defensive reputation followed him even after the NBA Combine. Agents were cancelling workouts for their clients when they found out Carter was also going to be at the workout.

Weaknesses

Despite being a “solid” ball handler, Carter doesn’t possess the elite first step of many guards in the NBA. Once he gets to the NBA, Carter isn’t going to be able to penetrate the lanes. Jevon is solidly a below the rim player and will continue to be so in the NBA. A ruthless defender in college, Jevon’s height could be an issue in the next level due to his 8’-6” standing reach which was one of the shorter measurements at the combine. The average height of an NBA point guard is 6’-3” which will make Jevon susceptible to watching guards shoot over top of him.

The upside of being a four-year player in college is how smart and experienced you are. The downside is that you’ve likely maxed out your NBA potential. Jevon’s four-year college career is going to work against him in the NBA as he doesn’t possess the “potential” to be a superstar. Given that Jevon was an unheralded prospect in Chicago who made himself into a NBA prospect, that likely sits just fine with Jevon.

Carter was solid for the Mountaineers as an offensive prospect but he rarely took over games. Despite his experience, Carter averaged well under 20 points per game and often when games were close or WVU was trailing, he could be seen trying too hard or playing “hero-ball” instead of dishing to open teammates or kicking out once he got into the lane.

Highlights

Where He Fits

Most rankings and mocks have Jevon flirting with the end of the first round but mostly as a second round selection, in the 32-37 range. Starting at #30 the selections are: #30 - Atlanta Hawks, #31 - Phoenix Suns, #32 - Memphis Grizzlies, #33 - Atlanta Hawks, #34 - Dallas Mavericks, #35 - Orlando Magic, #36 - Sacramento Kings, #37 - New York Knicks, #38 - Philadelphia 76ers, #39 - Philadelphia 76ers

Jevon has currently worked out with Memphis, Sacramento, Phoenix, Utah, Minnesota and the Los Angeles Lakers so far.

Carter’s calling card of defense, defense, defense will make him interesting to teams who already have scorers and can bring Jevon in late in the game to make plays and not be asked to run the show. For a team like the Phoenix Suns, who had the worst defensive rating in the league last season, Carter’s presence in the final 6-8 minutes of a game could go a long way in shoring up their defensive woes.

Carter’s mom hails from Memphis and with the #32 pick in the draft the Grizzlies fall right in line with where Carter is projected to be selected. With Memphis owning a high selection in the first round, the Grizzlies can take their scorer of the future early and then back him with Carter in the second round.

The 76ers, who seem to own the NBA Draft this year with six picks out of 60 could find themselves taking another guard with Carter despite having a slew of them on their roster. If the 76ers choose not to keep all of their guards, then Carter could come into a situation where he already has a roster set to score and is asked to perform limited duties and hit the open shot without being required to be “the man”.