Greetings! As we get closer to tip-off, we’re continuing with our 2013-2014 player profile series. In case you missed our preview installments, check out our looks at Dennis Schröder, Gustavo Ayon, Pero Antic, etc. by clicking on their name! Today, we’ll take a look at the presumptive starter at small forward, DeMarre Carroll.
It’s hard not to love DeMarre Carroll. The 6-foot-8 forward from Missouri plays 100 miles per hour at all times, and as a result, his energy becomes infectious to his team and any fan base that supports him. He’s a plus-defender at the swingman spot, and his active play can be pesky for any opponent when combined with his above-average length at the position.
In addition, Carroll can be a dangerous player in transition, as he runs the court extremely well and can finish with a vengeance when given the opportunity. He’s certainly not a scorer by any stretch, but there are offensive positives with Carroll, starting with the fact that he almost never turns the ball over. Also, he’s a very good offensive rebounder for what amounts to a wing player, and he can crash the boards to create follow-up opportunities.
You may notice that the above two paragraphs don’t really discuss any “skills” from Carroll on the offensive end, and there’s a reason for that. He’s probably one of the worst pure shooters from the wing in the league, as the former Jazz swingman is a career 28% 3-point shooter. Obviously, 3-point shooting isn’t the only thing that you would need from that position, but it’s tough to reconcile his complete lack of shooting with today’s “3-and-D” mindset on the wing.
Alas, Carroll brings unquestioned value as a result of his defense and energy, and his strengths should mesh well with his wing counterpart, Kyle Korver.
Role on the Roster
At the start of the season, Carroll is the starting small forward, and that is probably the right move. He’s certainly not a “better” player than Lou Williams (if you’re attempting to pencil in the “best five players”), but Carroll is immediately the wing stopper on the defensive end for a team who will need it, and Williams isn’t close to healthy at this stage.
I could easily see a scenario where the Hawks are trotting out Williams and Korver in crunchtime as we head into 2014, but for now, Carroll is certainly the best option at the 3-spot if we’re granting Korver as a shooting guard. It’s almost a guarantee that the veteran forward will set a personal minutes record this season (last year was his highest at 16.8 per game), and we’ll see how he holds up with that energy level over 82 games.
Personally, I love DeMarre Carroll. I believe he’s an awesome compliment to offense-focused guys like Korver and John Jenkins, and his defensive talents will be very valuable. However, I do think it’s hard to foresee him playing 82 games with this kind of jump in minutes, and it’ll be crucial to keep him healthy for the stretch drive. Career highs across the board are on their way for Carroll, and at 2 years for $5 million total, that’s an utter steal.
Stay tuned for the next installment, and be sure to check out all of our Hawks coverage!