A player’s rookie year is often hard to predict but with what Wendell Carter has shown in his one year in college and during summer league Carter might be an exception. The Bulls selected Carter with the 7th overall pick leaving some Bulls fans feeling cold. These fans thought Carter was a high floor low ceiling type that GarPax tend to gravitate towards. From what he looked like in summer league he has been anything but that.
Carter played his college ball at Duke next to Marvin Bagley Jr (the second pick in the draft for the Kings) who was a late commit to the team forcing Wendell into a secondary role and this also showed his willingness to put team success above all. Bagley did the bulk of the scoring for the team with Carter averaging only two 13.5 points per game. Bagley, being so bad on defense, forced Duke to move to a zone defense which stopped Carter from showing off his prowess on that end of the floor as well (I’m not a big fan of Bagley but that isn’t what this article is about). Carter was the anchor to Dukes defense and was forced to try to make up for any and all lapses Bagley let speed past him. Carter also averaged 9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game for the Blue Devils.
Enough about college, how is he going to look in the pros? Well if he looks anything like he did in summer league all Bulls fans are going to be very happy. Carter looks like he wants to prove all doubters of him wrong and step into the spotlight with his NBA play. When asked during media day if it was concerning for him that the Bulls did not make the playoffs last year, the rookie simply said “We are making the playoffs this year”.
Carter has the athleticism it help out players that have been beaten off the dribble and be the rim protector that Bulls have sorely needed (the Bulls ranked last in blocked shots last year). He will also need to continue to show that he can switch out on the perimeter and hedge on pick and rolls. On the offensive end he has showed he can both roll to the rim and finish amongst the bigs and pop out and shoot from range.
Wendell Carter Jr. was and is compared to a player like Al Horford. A player that really helps a winning team by doing all the little things well that don’t show up in the box score. I compared Carter to a taller Draymond Green in my pre draft break down of Wendell, and I will stick with that. The kid can play and after he earns the starting spot from Robin Lopez, I don’t see him giving it back. When this team is contending again Carter will be the man in the middle and defensive corner stone for a long time.
Projected Stat Line: PPG 10.5, RPG 9, APG 2.5, BPG 2
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