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Tony Carr – 6’5’’ Point Guard / Shooting Guard, Penn State, 20 Years Old
Going into the 2018 NBA Draft next month, Carr is looking to take his basketball talents to the next level. The 20-year old combo guard out of Penn State has had a pretty decent two-year college career. In just his freshman year, he received quite a lot of playing time at 32.8 minutes per game while putting up numbers of 13.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists per game while shooting 37.7 percent from the field, but he only shot 32 percent from deep, which is not the best for a backcourt player.
However in his second year with the Nittany Lions, he bumped up his scoring and three-point percentage, finishing his sophomore season with 19.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. He shot 40.8 percent from the field coupled with a greatly improved percentage (43.3) from behind the arc.
Carr was part of the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in 2017, and was also chosen as part of the First Team All-Big Ten after his sophomore year. He hopes that his two years of experience at Penn State together with his stats and awards will impress NBA executives enough to pick him in next month’s NBA Draft. Currently, Carr is projected to land in the late first round till the second round if he’s going to hear his name called in Brooklyn.
Carr’s improvement in his three-point shooting in his sophomore year will definitely play to his advantage. Going from 32% to over 43% from deep in just one season is not something to take lightly, especially in a league that puts a lot of emphasis on players capable of shooting from long range. Scouts have also noted Carr’s ability to create shots for himself off the dribble, so even if opposing defenses are blocking his passing lanes, he is still capable of taking and making shots over defenders.
As a 6’5’’ combo guard, Carr brings a lot of other enticing skills to the table. He is able to take advantage of smaller defenders, especially inside the arc by posting up on them or driving to the basket. His playing style is flexible, and he can function both as a scorer and as a play maker for his teammates, whatever the situation. His height also gives him a lot of defensive upside, allowing him to defend both guard positions as well as some taller and bigger players if need be.
While Carr has a lot of traits and skills on his side, potential suitors should take note of several of the weaknesses in his game. Compared to other athletes both in the NBA or in the college level, Carr does not seem as explosive as most players. When shooting off the dribble, driving to the basket, or defending, Carr has some way to go before being a true, fearsome threat to opposing players. His lack of explosiveness affects his abilities when attempting to attack players at the rim, forcing him to settle for contested jump shots in some situations. He also creates free-throw opportunities for himself. Having players like James Harden in the league who thrive off getting to the line should push Carr to improve himself in this aspect of the game.
Some analysts also see Carr as a volume scorer, and attribute his improved statistics to an increase in the shots he took. But shooting 40.8 percent is not a very good sign for teams hoping to get a very efficient scorer on their team. While he did dish out around 5 assists a game, Carr is also prone to playing hero ball instead of finding a teammate with a better shot. At 20-years-old, however, Carr has some time left to improve his play in this next chapter in his basketball career.
Having laid out all of Carr’s strengths and weaknesses, it can be said that given his age, Carr will be able to find himself on an NBA roster in the near future. Sports Illustrated projects him to be picked at 50, in the late second round, while NBADraft.net puts him at 28. Teams picking in this range are most likely looking for a solid role player who can come off the bench and contribute to the team when needed.
He most likely won’t turn into a star but can nevertheless grow to become a reliable contributor at the next level. If he manages to bring his three-point shooting skills with him to the NBA and is able to be more aggressive and shoot more efficiently overall, then most teams will give him a chance to get some minutes. His height definitely will not be ignored, and his defensive potential will get him looks from teams eyeing able perimeter defenders for their bench.
NBA Player Comparison
As a combo guard, Carr might draw comparisons to current Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart , and Avery Bradley of the Los Angeles Clippers . Both players are in that spot where there height and skills cannot classify them as a true point guard, or as a pure shooting guard. Smart and Bradley are also known to have a lot of grit and are tough on defense, and can also score quite decently for their respective teams.
Carr does indeed have a lot of positive factors on his side, as well as a number of flaws that he can improve on. Given the opportunity on an NBA roster and possibly some time in the NBA G-League, no one can say at this point the heights that Carr will reach as a future NBA player.