MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Though West Virginia point guard Jevon Carter lacks ideal size and athleticism, his skills and doggedness make him attractive to NBA coaches, a league scouting executive said.
“I think Carter was going to be drafted anyway but I think he helped himself at the combine,” the scout said. “I think he’ll go in the second round and I think he’ll be on an NBA team next year.”
The scout spoke with MetroNews on condition of anonymity one month ahead of the June 21 draft. Carter is on pace to become the first Mountaineer drafted since Da’Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks went back-to-back in 2010’s second round. Presumably competing to become a team’s third point guard, Carter could shuttle between the G-League and the parent club.
“The draft is a beauty pageant, but coaches see it a different way when it comes to playing people. Coaches are going to relate to him,” the scout said. “He could end up playing in this league a long time because coaches are going to like him.”
During two scrimmages at the NBA combine in Chicago, Carter averaged 10.5 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds. He also showed the tenacity that earned consecutive NABC defensive player of the year awards.
The scout’s take: “I think the guy’s sum exceeds the parts. He’s a bulldog. He’s obviously a very good on-the-ball defender at the college level, but there’s a big difference in the guys he’s guarding at our level. Physically, he’s a little stubby to me, but he’s obviously a leader and a great kid. ”
Measuring a quarter-inch over 6-foot tall without shoes, Carter was among the shortest players attending the combine, and his 6-4 wingspan also placed near the bottom. However, he was among the best-conditioned invitees with a 4.15 percent body fat.
His scrimmage shooting over two combine days wasn’t splashy — 10-of-27 overall and 1-of-5 from 3-point range. A better gauge is the four-year resume Carter assembled at WVU, where his scoring steadily increased from 8.1 points per game to 17.3, his long-range shooting rose from 31 to 39 percent and his ballhandling improved from marginal to above-average.
“Whatever reservations people have are still there: Is he going to be good enough offensively? I think he’ll be fine offensively as long as he doesn’t try to do too much,” the scout said.
Because Carter turns 23 years old in September, his steadiness and intangible are ingrained. He’s also closer to his ceiling than some youthful prospects who combine more upside with more risk.
While the NBA slots guaranteed contracts to first-rounders, there’s money available in the second round as evidenced by Carter’s former Big 12 counterparts.
Last year, Kansas State’s Wesley Iwundu was drafted 33rd overall and signed a fully guaranteed three-year, $4.05 million deal with Orlando. Kansas point guard Frank Mason went 34th to Sacramento and received a $4.18 million contract over three years with only the first two years guaranteed. The Clippers chose Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans at No. 39 and signed him for two years at the minimum salary ($562,493 annually) with a club option for Year 3.
This draft’s rookie minimum climbs to $582,180 with Carter potentially getting two years guaranteed if he’s among the 60 players picks.
“Carter seems very intriguing. He’s got some of the stuff that Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier have, but he’s not the athlete those guys are and he’s not as big as those guys are,” the scout added. “The question you have with him is: Are you going to leave younger, more gifted kids on the table?”