Because the Hawks acquired DeMarre Carroll on the same day (and within the same hour) that the team brought in Paul Millsap, it was incredibly easy to simply pass over the former University of Missouri (shoutout to Peachtree Hoops’ Daniel Christian) product. After all, he has a career scoring average of just 4.2 points per game, and he’ll never be a “star” player by any stretch.
However, I really, really like DeMarre Carroll, and I love the move to see him in a Hawks uniform.
Carroll is a defense-first player (I have a heart for those), and at just 2 years for $5 million ($2.5 million per season), he should provide tremendous value as a bench stopper. He has good size for a small forward (6-foot-8) and has even been used in “smallball” lineups as a havoc-wreaking power forward on the defensive end. Playing behind guys like Kyle Korver (and free agent X who the Hawks haven’t signed yet) at the small forward spot should take the pressure off Carroll to be anymore than a stopper, and if Hawks fans remember Deshawn Stevenson in that type of role last year, Carroll is a superior defender to Stevenson.
Obviously, it isn’t all positive around Carroll (or he wouldn’t be paid just $2.5 million a year) and his offensive game is not exactly pleasing to the eye. He made 79.1% of his shots at the rim for Utah last season (admittedly, a small sample), but his outside shooting is less than spectacular. For his career, Carroll is just a 43% shooter from the field and a 28% shooter from long-distance, but fortunately, it appears as if he realizes his limitations (I’m looking at you, Josh Smith), and has only attempted 95 threes in 173 career games.
Because of his offensive limitations, Carroll will likely be a pure role player, and there will be nights where Mike Budenholzer won’t play him at all. That’s the nature of the beast for a defense-first/only player like Carroll, but for $2.5 million, I’ll take that type of guy. He’s immediately the best perimeter defender on the roster, and it is plausible (if not likely) that he will be the best perimeter defender on the team even when the Hawks head to training camp.
Expectations shouldn’t be terribly high for Carroll in a Hawks uniform, but he fills a roster spot with a real life, NBA skill in his defensive ability, and with his energy level (outstanding), he could become a fan favorite in a hurry. And maybe, he’ll even get a three-pointer to drop once in a while.