Oklahoma City Thunder: Michael Carter-Williams could be in play if OKC passes on a big man in NBA Draft

Thunder general manager Sam Presti has a history of surprises on draft night. 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.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: June 15, 2013

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.

Relatively speaking.

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.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
+ show more


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

MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS

Height: 6-6

Weight: 184

Birth date: October 12, 1991

Hometown: Hamilton, Mass.

School: Syracuse

Class: Sophomore

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.

Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Life After Ice Buckets: ALS Group Faces $94 Million Challenge
  2. 2
    Jalen Saunders had to be physicially restrained during seizure
  3. 3
    Kansas City's Oklahoma Joe's restaurant taking state out of name
  4. 4
    Former prison warden present at botched execution in Arizona hired by OK DOC
  5. 5
    Multimillionaire CEO Caught On Tape Kicking Puppy (GRAPHIC VIDEO)
+ show more