Let me start out by making this statement: Summer League doesn’t tell you who can play. But it does tell you who can’t play.
So I like to temper any thoughts I might have about a young player’s development and potential based on Summer League results.
There is reason for optimism, though, as Wendell Carter is living up to his NBA ready status. Carter is doing much of his damage on the defensive end. He has accumulated 11 blocks thus far and has answered questions regarding his lateral quickness. Thus far he has shown an uncanny ability to switch on to smaller players and stay in front of them.
Carter had an impressive debut against the Cavs as he finished with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Recently in Atlanta, Carter showed just how lethal a weapon he can be scoring the ball. He posted 23 points, with 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He displayed a variety of post moves, mid range jumpers, and driving floaters. He even showed his ability from long range as he knocked down his only 3 point attempt.
Offensive talent is always the main focus of the Summer League. But the two skill sets that always translate over to the NBA is defense and rebounding. That is where Carter has really found his nitch, which is interesting considering the question marks he had on defense before leaving Duke.
Carter’s shot blocking skills have been tremendous. He has shown the ability to execute blocks on one situations. Weak side help and switching on defenders have also opened up many opportunities to showcase this skill. All of this will be a welcome addition to a team that was ranked dead last in shot blocking in the NBA last season
It’s safe to say that Robin Lopez’s starting job might be up for grabs at the All Star break. Or at the very least, the trading deadline might present Carter with the opportunity to snag the gig full time.
If Carter continues to shine into training camp and preseason ball, that job might be his once the season begins on a permanent basis.
Photo by theplayerstribune.com
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