Wendell Carter Jr.'s offseason has been highly productive, as the 20-year old big man out of Duke has been sharpening his game, getting Bulls Nation fired up and doing great work in the community as he prepares for the start of the 2019-20 NBA season.
In a recent sit-down with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, Carter discussed what he has been working on the most, heading into a very important sophomore season with the Bulls.
Just being more aggressive on the offensive end, I feel like defensively....I played very well on the defensive end throughout the season. I feel like offensively I deferred a lot, so this summer I just want to work on being a very capable shooter from all three levels and being able to create my own shot.
-Wendell Carter Jr.
Carter is correct that his defense was incredibly impressive for such a young player in his rookie season. He led the Bulls in 2018-19 with 1.3 blocks per game and per Basketball-Reference, had the best defensive rating on the team at 110 points allowed per 100 possesions.
Bulls’ Wendell Carter Jr. says he wants to be a capable shooter & create his own shot - https://t.co/UIkynbCmMe@wendellcarter34 says he played well on the defensive end thoughout the season & that offensively he deferred a lot.— 👑📍Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson (@ScoopB) July 29, 2019
My conversation with the @chicagobulls rookie. pic.twitter.com/XZXiaxOnSE
Though he only played 44 games last year (all starts), Carter's numbers and the eye test definitely show a player who will be an impact player on the defensive end for a very, very long time. That is why his highly accurate assessment of his offensive weaknesses is so encouraging.
He stated that he wants to be more aggressive on offense and indeed Carter's 12 field goal attempts per 36 minutes ranked a lowly 11th on the Bulls last season. This was despite the fact that Carter's offensive rating (107) would suggest that he was one of the seven best offensive players on the team in terms of efficiency.
Becoming more proficient in terms of shot creation will allow Carter to take advantage of the many defense-averse bigs in the league, putting less pressure on frontcourt partner Lauri Markkanen.
Carter mentioned becoming 'a very capable shooter from all three levels' as being of major importance to him and those words are sure to put a smile on the faces of Bulls fans everywhere. The ability to step out and hit a perimeter jump shot was one of the primary points of interest for Carter coming into the 2018 NBA Draft. In his lone season at Duke, Carter shot 41.3 percent on 46 total 3-point attempts. In his rookie season with the Bulls, he hit a paltry 18.8 percent of his 32 (total) attempts from 3-point range.
Whether it was by instruction or his choice, the 3-point shot was in no way a weapon for Carter in the 2018-19 season. With a new coaching staff in place around Jim Boylen and an even more motivated Carter, it sounds like we can expect a well-rounded season from the Bulls starting center in 2019-20.
See the full Scoop B-Wendell Carter Jr. interview here.