Much of the rave about Michael Carter-Williams is his size.
But at 6-foot-6, surely he's at least four inches shorter than any player the Thunder might want.
But what if he's not?
What if the Thunder takes a pass on a big man in the upcoming NBA Draft?
If that's the route Oklahoma City chooses, Carter-Williams, the point guard from Syracuse, could be in play with the 12th overall pick.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti has a history of surprises on draft night. From selecting Russell Westbrook fourth overall in 2008, to the mystery surrounding the eventual selection of James Harden with the third overall pick in 2009, to trading up for Cole Aldrich in 2010, to the head-scratching selection of Reggie Jackson in 2011.
And so while most everyone assumes the Thunder will be drafting a big man, it's not out of the realm of possibilities that OKC actually will go small.
Because nothing about Carter-Williams' stature is small.
He measured at 6-foot-5 and three-quarter inches at the draft combine, and the skills he possesses within his considerable frame hasn't been seen at the point guard position since Shaun Livingston.
Scouts and front office executives seem to be mesmerized by Carter-Williams' size and potential, which is why he's projected to be taken as early as eighth. Best of all, Carter-Williams combines savvy with his size. He proved to be extremely effective setting up teammates this season, either by breaking down his defender and drawing help defense before dumping off passes or driving and kicking out to shooters.
“He understands the game,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told The New York Times late in the season. “He sees the game, and he's got a great feel for the game.”
While his height allows him to see over defenses and read and react to coverages with ease, it also equips Carter-Williams with the tools to someday be successful as a post-up player against certain matchups. The idea is he'll be too big for small guards on the inside while being too quick for big guards on the perimeter.
Carter-Williams doesn't score much. He averaged just 11.9 points in 35.2 minutes per game this season. And his shot needs some work. He shot just 39.3 percent from the field and connected on only 29.2 percent of his 3-point attempts.
But none of that would be an issue for the Thunder. Oklahoma City wouldn't nab Carter-Williams with scoring in mind. Instead, the 21-year-old floor general could fill a need as the third point guard for now and, in time, possibly develop into the primary backup to Westbrook.
Remember, we've seen this before.
Back in 2011, when Presti surprised by selecting Jackson, most wondered why the Thunder would bring in another point guard. Westbrook and Eric Maynor at the time were one of the best starter-sub tandems in the league. But Maynor got injured, and the Thunder would have been hard-pressed to keep him even if he didn't.
Jackson is now entering that same situation. He's eligible for a contract extension next summer, and if his rapid development continues he could price himself out of the Thunder's budget.
That's why it wouldn't be a shock to hear Carter-Williams' name called with the 12th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
If he's still around.
Editor's note: As part of the James Harden trade with Houston last October, the Thunder obtained the No. 12 overall selection in the June 27 NBA Draft via Toronto. We look at 12 potential candidates the Thunder might consider taking with that No. 12 pick.
Today: Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams
Birth date: October 12, 1991
Hometown: Hamilton, Mass.
2012-13 stats: 11.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 7.3 apg, 0.5 bpg, 2.8 spg, .393 FG, .694 FT
Strengths: Tremendous size for his position. Makes plays for others. Breaks down his man and gets into the teeth of the defense. Active defensively, especially in the passing lanes.
Weaknesses: Not a great shooter. Lacks explosiveness. Has trouble finishing at the rim. Doesn't score much. Prone to turnovers and to poor decisions.
How he could help the Thunder: Patience would be required, but in time Carter-Williams could be the primary backup to Russell Westbrook and a perfect match as a running mate to Jeremy Lamb.
Projections: No. 8 (si.com, espn.com); No. 13 (hoopsworld.com, draftexpress.com, hoopshype.com, nbadraft.net).
Quotable: “It's hard when Michael Carter-Williams forces rotation, because he's so good off the bounce. You can either give him a layup, or you better figure out how you're going to rotate to try to stop the penetration.” — Marquette coach Buzz Williams.