Hypothetical Wendell Carter-Warriors NBA draft trade would be huge win

Josh Schrock
·4 min read

Hypothetical Carter draft-day trade would be win for Warriors originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

A week from Wednesday, the Warriors will go on the clock with the No. 2 overall pick, unless, of course, they don't.

While the Warriors reportedly are eager to make a selection, there have been whispers that they would prefer to move down the draft board, pick up an asset and select a player who isn't in the top three. I broke down several hypothetical trade down scenarios, but one deserves a more in-depth look.

ESPN's Zach Lowe first floated this idea out and The Athletic's John Hollinger did the same in his recent mock draft. In the deal, the Warriors would send the No. 2 pick to the Chicago Bulls for the No. 4 pick and Wendell Carter Jr.

If this trade materializes for the Warriors, it's one they should certainly look at long and hard. Everyone from Steph Curry to Steve Kerr has been open about the fact that the Warriors need more size. Most assume that means they are eyeballing Memphis center James Wiseman at No. 2 overall, but getting Carter, who is 21, and the No. 4 pick would give the Warriors the best of both worlds. They'd get both a young, talented center and still get to use a top-five pick to fill their wing need.

Carter has been solid in his first two seasons with the Bulls. He's averaged 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks while shooting 50.8 percent from the field. Carter is a high-IQ big man who is a tremendous passer when given the opportunity. His offensive game has not blossomed with the Bulls, as both coach Fred Hoiberg and Jim Boylen didn't give him the touches needed to grow his game.

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In one season at Duke, Carter shot 41.3 percent from 3-point range but he's only shooting 19.7 percent from long distance in two NBA seasons. That shouldn't be a concern. He's still shooting 76.1 percent from the free-throw line -- which is often a good indicator of 3-point success. During a seven-game stretch in January before spraining his ankle, Carter went 4-for-11 from 3-point range and looked confident and fundamentally sound in catch-and-shoot looks.

Putting Carter in the Warriors' system would allow him more wide-open looks and instill him with the confidence to reach the lofty offensive ceiling many projected for him coming out of Duke.

Carter is a solid screen-setter and does great work in dribble hand-off scenarios. He's a good put-back artist, and while he's not the high-flying rim-runner that Wiseman might be, he might be an even better fit for what the Warriors do.

While his overall offensive game could be described as a work-in-progress, Carter is an excellent defender. Even at an undersized 6-foot-9, Carter uses his fluid feet and 7-foot-5 wingspan to disrupt passing lanes and force turnovers.

With Carter on the floor last season, the Bulls had a 105.3 defensive rating and grabbed 74.3 percent of all defensive rebounds. When Carter was off the floor, the Bulls' rating was 109.3 and the defensive rebounding dipped to 70.2. That gap between the two ratings is the same as the distance between the fourth and 15th best defensive units in the league.

In short, Carter makes a difference on both ends of the floor.

Acquiring a young, high-ceiling center in Carter would allow the Warriors to then select a wing at No. 4. Deni Avdija, who the Warriors reportedly covet most of any prospect "outside the top three" certainly would be a good fit, as would Tyrese Haliburton. If the Warriors can find a way to fill their size and wing need on the same night by adding two talented young players who fit their system, that would be a massive win.

Getting Carter also would allow the Warriors to package Kevon Looney in any deal with their $17.2 million trade exception and not take a hit in the frontcourt.

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Wiseman is a flashy name and he's extremely talented, as is Anthony Edwards.

But if we're doing an equation, getting two high lottery picks (Carter and Avdija/Haliburton) would be a bigger win than just adding Wiseman, who the Warriors reportedly aren't sure where to place him on their draft board.

Both Carter and Avdija would fit in nicely alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, and give the Warriors two young, franchise building blocks.