The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Vernon Carey Jr.
2019/20 stats: 31 G, 24.9mpg, 17.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.7 spg, 1.6 bpg, 57.7 FG% (6.4/11.1), 38.1 3PT% (0.3/0.7), 67.0 FT%
Player comparison: DeMarcus Cousins, Domantas Sabonis
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 27th, Sports Illustrated 27th, Ringer 45th, NBADraft.net 13th, Bleacher Report N/A
5 things to know:
*At Duke, Vernon Carey Jr. was a bruiser, a typical big-man in every sense that he would simply impose his will on any opponent in the way. He's extremely strong and built like a tight end in the NFL, with his athleticism and burst making him fit the mold for a quick-paced team. That combination allows him to thrive with a bevy of post moves in his arsenal.
*Many analysts are split on where Carey projects in the draft order. One mock has him as a lottery pick as high as 13th, others don't even have the 6-foot-10 big-man as a first-round prospect. This is partly due to his sometimes poor decision-making and lack of developing a perimeter game. There is no denying his athleticism or raw talent though, just his best assets are not as valuable as they once were in the NBA.
*It seemed Carey knew that he needed to show flashes of a 3-point game to fit into today's NBA. He only attempted 21 3-pointers, mostly due to Coach K's system, and fared decently well. What he did show was a reliable jumper and good form that could translate as he gets more repetitions.
*No matter where selected, Carey is one of the top rebounders of his class. He's at or above the level of James Wiseman, who many NBA executives say should be the No. 1 pick. Carey understands positioning well and prioritizes it on every possession. Last season he averaged 14.1 rebounds per 40 minutes, one of the best in Division I. He's a fine blocker, but most are against smaller guards and wings, and he doesn't have the same reach against other bigs.
*Athleticism runs in the family. His father, Vernon Carey Sr. was an offensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins from 2004-11 and was drafted 19th in the 2004 NFL Draft.
Fit with Wizards: One of the major holes in the Wizards rotation on both ends of the floor is their interior post-game. Several elements of Carey's game are exactly what the Wizards are looking for to fill some voids.
Carey would be able to boost the team's presence on the boards and be able to adequately defend other bigs. Even as a late first-round, early second-round prospect, Carey could find himself competing for a starting role with Thomas Bryant at the center spot. He can hold his own on the offensive end of the court and even has a more polished jumper than Bryant.
Athletically, Carey would be one of the few centers in the draft that is more than capable of fitting into Scott Brooks' up-tempo style. He's nimble and has the durability to move up and down the floor. Often he was the first on the other end of the court in transition opportunities.
Over time, Washington will need him to continue to build on his range, but the fundamentals are there to show he won't reside in the post every possession.
There are some concerns as he defends. Outside, he can cover stretch-fours and other players of similar size. However, sometimes he overcommits on fakes or rotates over on a cutting player. He won't exactly shut down the best centers in the league.
Drafting Carey with the Wizards' first-round pick would be a bit of a stretch, but the Wizards' second-rounder could be in play. While the order is not entirely set, Washington will likely have one of the first 10 picks of the second round. Depending on how teams view Carey, there is a possibility the center would be available.
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