The NBA Draft is closer than one might think. With it fast approaching, now is as good a time as ever to discuss one of the best prospects, Vernon Carey Jr. Carey has been outstanding this year for the Duke Blue Devils and is climbing draft boards daily.
Vernon Carey Jr.2020 NBA Draft Profile
Vernon Carey Jr. has had a great start to his college career. As a highly touted recruit, Carey somehow came into college underrated in terms of overall impact. Undoubtedly, Carey has been dominant all year. Many people would argue that he is the most important player on Duke.
Carey is averaging 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds, including 2.7 offensive boards a game. All of these numbers are even more staggering considering he only plays 24.9 minutes per game. These stats culminated in Carey winning ACC Freshman of the Year, as well as being named First-Team All-ACC.
Carey is a dominant post-player, who has shown the ability to step out and hit threes. The lefty’s go-to move is a drop step. Every defender that covers him knows it’s coming, but they can never stop it. He plants himself on the block and hits his defender with a spin and drop step completely removing them from the play leading to easy buckets. Carey’s size at 6’10 270 and his feel for the defense allows him to establish position and score at will. Along with this, he draws fouls frequently since he always has a great position.
Carey also has guard skills. He is an above-average ball-handler for a big. While he has not done it often, Carey can catch the ball on the perimeter and make his way to the rim. Duke lacks some spacing this year, so Carey should have an easier time next year with more space.
Although he has only taken 21 threes this year, he is shooting 38 percent. Realistically, he should be shooting a lot more. The fact that he can now run pick and pops, as well as pick and rolls and be a threat all over the court is crucial.
When Carey is on the court, he does not have many weaknesses. However, being on the court is crucial. Carey has suffered through a spell of foul trouble. Most of these fouls come from poor lateral quickness or not being in the right place. The two main reasons Carey is only playing 24 minutes a game is due to his foul trouble and being somewhat out of shape. These two things can also keep him off the court in the NBA.
Another weakness for Carey is what happens when he faces double teams. Typically, he will just dribble away from it, which at the very least, protects the ball. However, double teams need to be attacked. Carey has made some great passes, but he needs to be more consistent with it. If he is going to be a dominant big, he needs to develop his passing, or at least utilize it more.
Lastly, Carey struggles from the line. He is going to get fouled a lot. He needs to be on the floor at the end of games and the only way that happens is if he makes free throws. He is also too good of a shooter to shoot poorly from the free-throw line. It seems like he understands that because, since the loss to Stephen F. Austin where he was awful from the line, he has been above 70 percent.
NBA Player Comparison
Zach Randolph. Both lefties and big bodies that can dominate on the block or face up. Randolph is slightly better as a passer and Carey has better range. If Carey can get into better shape he can be even more dominant than Randolph.
NBA Draft Projection
Top 15 pick. Carey should be in consideration to be the second big off the board behind Wiseman. Having him outside the lottery is asinine.
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