Outside of which coaching candidate was going to captain this ship in the upcoming season of the tank, the second most popular topic in your emails and comments revolves around the 11th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Michael Carter-Williams.
Many of you want to know which player / players in the League Carter-Williams reminds us of or which player NBA front office types compare MCW’s game to at this point in his basketball life.
After a great deal of research, phone calls, emails and texts, I have to be honest and say that there isn’t one consensus player that “experts” and NBA front office people compare to Michael Carter-Williams. Depending on your opinion of MCW, that could be good news or bad news.
After the jump, I’ll look at the list of NBA players (past & present) that seem to compare to MCW as he prepares for his rookie season in the Association.
As a reminder, here is a look at MCW’s vital stats from his second and final year at Syracuse:
11.9 ppg., 7.3 apg., 5 rpg.
For a full breakdown of MCW’s sophomore year at Syracuse visit draftexpress.com.
Below I present the Michael Carter-Williams comparison list:
Jason Kidd — The Kidd comparison is the one I have probably read online the most and a number of NBA folks mentioned his name as well. Frankly I just don’t get it. MCW does have some of Kidd’s one-on-one game in him, they both rebounded well for a guard and they both had a suspect jumper coming into the League, but that’s where the comparison ends for me. To be honest, there are so many differences between the two players that I find it hard to compare them.
Let’s start with the fact that Kidd was significantly better in college, I mean light years ahead of MCW – 16.7 ppg.; 9 apg. & 6.9 rpg. While Kidd also had a short college career (2 years at Cal) he was a 1st team All-America selection as a sophomore, a hell of a defensive player and one of the fiercest competitors I can remember. MCW’s college resume doesn’t boast any of those items.
Additionally, the two are not physically similar. Kidd was 6-4 and 200 pounds coming out of college – a solid athlete. MCW is 6-6 and generously listed at 185 pounds. If he stood next to the Kidd of 1994 MCW would look like a noodle.
When I asked one scout which current NBA player MCW compared to I was given this interesting quote, “Maybe a younger J-Kidd before he made threes. He (MCW) has size, he boards and passes well. He’s a tad wilder then Kidd (with the ball) and he’s not the winner Kidd was in college.”
Greivis Vasquez – The Vasquez vs. MCW is a player comparison that I pulled together for this post. MCW is about the same height as Vasquez, but Greivis weighs 15 pounds more then MCW. Both were very quick with the ball in college and displayed great one-on-one skills. Vasquez was a more proven scorer in college – 19 ppg. in his senior year. However, Vasquez was asked to score the ball frequently for his Terp teams and MCW was not cast in that role at Syracuse. I honestly believe MCW could have posted more points per game if he was asked to carry a heavier scoring load at Syracuse. Both were scrappy, solid defenders, but not outstanding on that end of the court.
When I look closely, there are two differences in the players that I notice. The first is obvious — Vasquez shot the rock at a better clip in college — 42.9% in his last year in College Park vs. 39% for MCW in 2012-13. Vasquez has a much more refined stroke and was better at finding open spaces for spot up jumpers. Those details typically make for a very good college jump-shooter. The second difference is that MCW was better at handling the ball in traffic. But other then those variances, their college careers and skills sets compare nicely.
Vasquez was drafted 28th in 2010 and last year for New Orleans averaged 13.9 ppg., 9 apg. and 4 rpg. In 2012-13 he posted a PER of 16.3 and TS% 50.2.
“Obviously he couldn’t shoot like Greivis at Maryland, but other than that, I like that comparison. If he puts up Vasquez-like numbers as a rookie, he’ll have done very well,” said one NBA scout.
Rajon Rondo – Again, this is a popular online comparison and I guess if you look past the glaring height difference (Rondo is 6-1) and do a little digging, the Rondo comparison is an interesting one. Their college careers were each two years long and both players were solid college players but nothing great (Rondo was good for 11 & 4 his final season at UK). Much like MCW, Rondo couldn’t shoot a lick when he got to the NBA and he was a solid defender, but nothing special. Both players could run a team in the half court and hand out assists on the collegiate level.
Still, there are two glaring differences in their college careers for me that blow up this comparison. The first is that Rondo’s next world level quickness allowed him to score the ball at the rim in lethal fashion. MCW is quick, but not Rondo quick. The second difference is that Rondo was allegedly a total diva at Kentucky and created a number of locker room issues. All of MCW’s teammates and coaches appear to love this kid and no one has a bad thing to say about MCW.
As we all know, Rondo the 21st pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, worked hard on developing a serviceable jumper and has become one of the elite point men in the Association.
“Neither had a clue how to shoot the jumper in college, but that’s where any comparison ends. They were and are two very different players,” a director of college scouting told me.
Penny Hardaway — “His physical make-up and one-on-one abilities remind me of a very poor-man’s Penny Hardaway,” one NBA front office executive suggested to me via text.
I can buy the physical comparison as both Penny and MCW were tall and lean point guards in college. I can even somewhat relate to their skill sets being compared in NBA circles as they both excelled out on the break and at beating a defender one-on-one. But I remember Hardaway having simply ridiculous handles (especially for a 6-6 guard) and a smooth mid-range game at Memphis. MCW can dribble the rock well, but not at the same level as Penny and I haven’t seen mid-range skills from MCW — yet.
Thanks to an elite skill set, Penny averaged 20+ ppg in college and was an All-American selection. MCW has none of that on his resume, but when you throw the “very poor man’s” detail in there like my NBA source did, I am on-board with this comparison.
If MCW can come close to touching the level of player Penny was for that amazing, All-Star caliber, 7-year period in his NBA career from 1993-200 (17.7 ppg., 5.8 apg., 4.8 rpg.), I’ll be bananas pleased with this 2013 Draft pick.
Alvin Williams — I have to credit my colleague Michael Kaskey-Blomain with this suggestion and IMO the comparison works well. Williams (Germantown Academy product) was a 6-5, 185 pound point guard at Villanova where he was a role player for two seasons and a very solid starter as a junior (11 ppg., 5 apg. & 3 rpg.) for a great Wildcats squad. During his first three years at ‘Nova, Alvin relied heavily on his ability to beat defenders off the dribble to score the ball and was a floor general who could find the open man. Sounds a lot like the Sixers’ draft pick MCW. Alvin, like Carter-Williams was also a good defender.
Williams then exploded as a senior thanks to a much improved jumper and a lot more touches. He ran his stats up to 17/4/5 on 48% shooting from the field and 38% on 3PAs. As a result he was First Team All-Big East Conference and honorable mention All-America as a senior. But if we remove Williams’ excellent final year at Villanova, then again, I like this comparison a great deal.
Williams was the 48th pick in the 1997 NBA Draft and played for 11 seasons in the Association. There was a three year span (2000-2003) in Toronto where he was a very solid NBA point guard — .11.6 ppg., 5 apg. & 3 rpg. His best year in the League was in 2002-03 when he hit for 13 ppg., 5 apg. & 3 rpg. Obviously I’d like to see the 11th pick this year’s draft put up better numbers for a longer period of time, but if MCW can post those types of numbers for 8-10 years straight then I would not look back at his selection in total disgust.
“If you’re asking me to discount Alvin’s senior year, then I would admit that’s a great comparison. They’re both Big East lead guards with good size, who could score off the bounce,” commented one NBA scout.
Shaun Livingston – Livingston is a name that I have seen mentioned by numerous online “experts”, but he jumped straight from high school to the League and injuries killed his career, so there’s not much to work with here other then the fact that are both tall, lean and quick point guards.
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