There has been a lot of talk about what kind of player Jevon Carter is, and what he could be. Drafted with the 32nd pick in last year’s draft, Jevon was a pretty well known commodity coming out of West Virginia. He was the leader of that Mountaineer team, as well as one of the best defensive players in the nation, winning the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.
It was his defensive prowess that led to Memphis drafting him - Chris Wallace called Jevon “one of the finest defensive guards I’ve seen in over 30 years in the NBA.” And while we have seen some that defensive ability in his limited opportunities so far this season, Carter has struggled more on the offensive end. In the 34 games Carter has appeared in for Memphis, he has played an average of almost 15 minutes per game and scored 3.3 points on 27% shooting. This is in stark contrast to his G-League numbers, he averages 18 points on 43% shooting (39% from 3). Some of this can be attributed to his inconsistent opportunities with the Grizzlies, but not all the blame falls to his playing time.
These differences in performance have led to many speculating on what Jevon Carter’s real potential is. Some think he could be the point guard of the future if or when Memphis decides to move off Mike Conley. Others think he could wind up as a backup and nothing more.
So what is Jevon Carter’s future?
Best Case Scenario:
At his best, Carter has been a good but inconsistent player for Memphis. He has shown willingness to pass and shoot the ball, is a capable ball-handler, and gives his very best on defense. His play with the Hustle gives Grizzlies fans hope that he will eventually bring that type of production to FedExForum, but that might never happen. Carter could be a dependable backup 1 or 2 guard for the Grizzlies. He has the intangibles, the skill set and the mentality needed to succeed, it’s just getting his on-court production to match his potential that we have seen in college and the G-League.
Worst Case Scenario:
When he’s at his worst, Jevon has been a chucker with poor shot selection. In 34 appearances for Memphis this season, only 4 times has he shot better than 33% from the field, and of those 4 games, he only attempted more than 2 FGs twice. The folks at Fastbreak Breakfast found a stat about Carter that sums up his struggles this season very appropriately:
is now a good time to mention Jevon Carter is on pace to be the first player in 63 years to play over 400 minutes and shoot less than 26% from the field? pic.twitter.com/82L5JnjOCN— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) April 1, 2019
Yikes. That’s a very dubious honor. If Carter doesn’t somehow drastically improve his play, his reputation will become that of a player who always gives maximum effort on both ends of the floor, but is still a negative when it comes to the offensive side. In today’s NBA, sustaining a career on defense alone is very hard to do. Being a positive on the offensive side of the game is a must.
Now, don’t let this fool you into thinking that Carter is doomed, or I think he won’t succeed with Memphis. I really like Carter. His effort is second to none and he has quickly become a fan favorite. He has a loyal following going back to his West Virginia days.
.@WVUhoops fans waited to greet Jevon Carter (@nextlevel_03) after the @memgrizz loss to the Cavs.— Nick Farrell (@ByNickFarrell) February 24, 2019
Carter signed for at least 20 minutes, and #WVU fans at The Q filled nearly an entire section.
I overheard a teammate say to JC: “I went to the wrong school.” pic.twitter.com/5aQi4Iys4o
As I stated earlier, Carter has the requisite skills and mentality to carve out a career in the NBA. That being said, he has struggled mightily in his first season in the Beale Street Blue, and changes are necessary if he doesn’t want to become the next Wade Baldwin IV. I very much hope that Carter can become the player we believe he can be and an integral part of Grizzlies teams for years to come.