Scouting reports


By: Chase Fitzgerald (@NBADraftGuy)
Michael Carter Williams
Position: Point Guard
College: Syracuse
Birthday: 10/12/91 (21 years old)
Height: 6’5.75”
Weight: 184
Wingspan: 6’7.25”
Standing Reach: 8’5”
Michael Carter Williams had an up and down season looking like a top 5 pick at times but also looking like he’s never set foot on a basketball court at times. Either way, MCW is one of the highest rated point guards in the draft and is filled with potential intriguing many NBA teams. MCW may be a top ten pick come June and has the ability to become a superstar. He has a long way to go though. Here are my findings:
Pros:
Great Decision Maker:
Michael Carter Williams almost always makes the right decision and is an overall smart basketball player. He never gets too turnover prone and just doesn’t make stupid passes. He never tries to force the ball and in when he is in transition, he isn’t afraid to dribble the ball back out instead of forcing a contested floater. He is a very unselfish, pass first player who would be great on a team that already has a superstar.
Clutch
Michael Carter Williams may have problems with his shot but he always makes the shot when it counts. He has the ability to single handedly take over games as he just takes his game to another level in crunch time. It seems like he rides the momentum of his team and always is there to cap off his team’s big run. This is the same defensively as well. He may be inconsistent at times but, when there is 10 seconds left and the opposing guard is trying to create something like in example A, MCW makes sure that nothing happens. Being clutch can’t be taught, it’s just something that a select amount of players are born with and MCW definitely has the clutch gene.
Patient
Like I said before, MCW never forces any play. He always waits for the play to develop and never rushes to make a decision. This is a very good quality to have in a point guard that many teams would kill to have in theirs. He passes on the opportunity of a mildly open shot and is willing to make the extra pass to get the more open shot. It’s nice to see a player that is not afraid to drain the shot clock to make sure his team gets the best possible shot.
Length
We won’t know his standing reach until the combine but what I do know is that a point guard with a 6’5” wingspan is not normal. His length can really be shown when he plays defense when he always make sure to keep both of his arms out wide to make any pass much more difficult for the opposing guard. He constantly knocks away passes and causes havoc as much as any guard in college. His length makes any inbounds pass 10x more difficult as well because the inbounder can’t make any lazy lob passes because MCW will get a hand on them.
Height
The average height for a NBA point guard is around 6’2” so obviously, the 6’5” Michael Carter Williams has a huge advantage. He can easily shoot over any guard and if he develops a reliable floater, it’s going to make guarding him almost impossible. Having him on the court will cause match-up problems for the opposing team on offense and on defense.
Speed
MCW is crazy fast for someone his size which is one of the main reasons why he is so good at getting to the basket. He can usually easily run by his defender, being one of the most athletic guards in college basketball if not being the most athletic, and can turn any rebound into a fast break.
Hands
Michael Carter Williams has a knack for getting a hand on the ball. This is assisted by his length but he still does a better job at it than most. When defending a fast break, instead of going up with the player just to be called for a foul, he strips the opposing player and usually knocks the ball off him as well usually getting all ball. An underrated skill that can save a few baskets.
Example B:
Transition
I haven’t had more fun watching a player on a fast break/transition than Michael Carter Williams. He always makes the right decision and always knows whether to push the pace or not. He converts on pretty much every opportunity he gets and transition baskets were a huge reason why Syracuse made the final four this year. It is a thing of beauty watching him on a fast break and I expect his book called “How to run a fast break” to come out real soon.
Can catch fire
MCW isn’t a very good shooter but once he sees one ball go into the hoop, his confidence sky rockets. A great example of this is in the Cincinnati game when he was missing everything when a floater roles into the basket, and he goes on to only miss one shot the rest of the game. MCW is a very streaky shooter so there are some games where he is just ice cold but when he heats up, it’s scary.
The little things
You will never see MCW complain for a foul call while the ball is still in play and whenever he commits a turnover, he always makes sure to hustle back on defense. He always crashed the boards for a rebound despite being a point guard and seems to get at least 2 or 3 extra possessions for his team each game. He also makes sure to find a player to box out which I absolutely love in a prospect. Someone who doesn’t overlook the little things that he was taught growing up.
High release point
A high release point paired with MCW’s 6’5” height makes it pretty much impossible for him to be blocked. He needs to start hitting his shots though to put those things to use. I don’t care if your release point is with your arms straight up, if it doesn’t go in, it doesn’t matter. MCW will definitely improve his shot and when he does, opposing point guards will have some problems.
Rebounding
Usually teams are more than happy to get 3 or 4 rebounds from their point guard because 7 foot centers almost always out rebound the 6 foot guards. But with MCW, that’s not the case. The almost 6’6 guard can jump right up there with the forwards and will steal a few rebounds from them. Just another perk of being tall.
Gets teammates open shots
Michael Carter Williams is just fantastic at getting shooters open shots. He does it two ways. The first way is by driving in, attracting the defense, and kicking out. A skill that many point guards have. The other way is very interesting. He drags his defender away from the shooter and creating room before passing to him for the wide open shot like in example A.
Crazy athletic
This was kind of a given from the things I mentioned above but he is crazy athletic especially for someone his size. MCW seems like an athlete that could pretty much excel at anything but chose basketball. He’s fast, tall, and has got some ups. He has the ability to end worlds like in example A, and will never have a problem keeping up with anyone he guards in the NBA.
Pushes Pace
Although MCW is a very patient and smart player, he’s not afraid to push the pace. In the Providence game at the end of the first half, MCW started 5 straight fast breaks all of them translating into points. His athleticism and speed allows him to do this and he would be a perfect fit for a fast pace team like the Thunder.
Cons:
His Shot
Michael Carter Williams has struggled with putting the ball in the basket his entire college career shooting under 40 percent for the season. Improving his shot has to be his number 1 focus for the off-season because if MCW had a reliable jump shot, he wouldn’t only be the number 1 point guard in the draft, but possibly a top 5 pick. Teams will shy away from picking him because of his inability to score consistently and they have a legitimate point.
Confused Constantly on Defense
Even though MCW is fantastic on defense at times, not letting anyone get around him, he has moments where you question whether he knows what basketball is. He falls for pump fakes and fake passes constantly and sometimes just takes himself out of the play completely. It’s sometimes hard to watch, but if you don’t at least chuckle when watching the examples there’s something wrong.
Needs to be more aggressive
MCW is patient which is very good in a point guard but, sometimes he’s a little to patient for his own good. He needs to attack the basket more because when he does, good things happen. He does drive and kick out a lot but pretty soon, defenders are going to guard for the kick out knowing he won’t shoot. Sometimes that little opening to the basket is the best you’re going to get. You can’t always wait for a better one because sometimes, that opportunity doesn’t show up.
Mental Lapses/Common sense
Yes MCW, I understand you need to stay in your zone but, when there is no one near you it’s time to move. MCW makes you want to scream at your television at times, when he guards no one on an inbounds pass or watching an opposing player go right by him for the easy lay-up. He needs to get his head in the game and just have common sense.
Doesn’t always contest shots
There is literally no explanation for it. Maybe he’s scared of falling for a pump fake or something but at times he just stands there and doesn’t put his hand up. I know the man shooting is a little far from him but it wouldn’t hurt to at least try to contest the shot. It’s just a little thing that I’ve noticed that bothers me a whole lot.
Handles
Michael Carter Williams does not have the best handles in the world, plain and simple. He does have a great hesitation move but besides that, his bag of tricks is pretty much empty. He needs to work on his offensive game as a whole but developing a reliable crossover to pair with his hesitation would be a great start.  
Relies on Athleticism
There is no real examples for this but you can tell from watching his games that without his crazy athleticism, he wouldn’t be ranked very high. He relies on his athleticism way too much and the problems for guys like that is their careers run short such as Allen Iverson. He needs to develop his shot and create some kind of offensive game beyond his natural talent is he’s going to have a long and productive career.
Raw Prospect
Just like many other players in this draft, MCW is very raw as a prospect. He could develop into a superstar or a bust. He needs to be drafted by a team that is willing to be patient with him instead of throwing him right into the fire. He is a very risky pick and along with his possible bust factor it wouldn’t surprise me to see him fall in the draft.
Michael Carter Williams is a very intriguing prospect that will get a lot of attention from NBA teams. He has the potential to be a superstar and even though I don’t think he’ll become that good, he ill succeed at the next level. I can’t wait to follow his career.


By: Chase Fitzgerald (@ByChase)
Nerlens Noel
Position: Center
College: Kentucky
Birthday: 4/10/94 (18 years old)
Height: 6’11
Weight: 216
Wingspan: 7’4
Standing Reach: 9’1.5
Despite Noel’s season coming to a drastic end with an ACL tear, he is still one of the best prospects in this year’s draft. The injury probably shouldn’t affect his draft stock but it does give a chance for other players to shine in his absence which could hurt his stock. Even with that, Noel has still put together a solid 24 college games that have shown what he can do. If you want a more in depth look at any of those games, check out the game breakdowns we have done. After watching a lot of tape on Noel, here are my findings:
Pros:
Length
Nerlens Noel has one of the biggest wingspans in this year’s draft and he has shown that he knows how to use every bit of his 7’4 wingspan. His incredible length paired with his lightning quick reactions gives him a very dynamic presence in the paint. You can in these two plays (http://www.thefansgm.com/2013/03/nerlens-noel-catches-attempted-alley-oop.html and http://www.thefansgm.com/2013/03/nerlens-noel-gets-block-without-jumping.html), where his length alone forces the turnover and any team would love to have that on their defense.
Presence in the paint
Nerlens Noel’s presence alone affects the way every opposing player plays. Even if he isn’t blocking the shots, he still forces guards to second guess their shot attempt and when they don’t, well, this happens (http://www.thefansgm.com/2013/03/nerlens-noels-clutch-block-party.html). He forces very high floaters that are sometimes even funny as they go off the top of the backboard.
Great Hands
Even though Noel has a slight problem holding onto the ball, Noel’s hands are still one of the best in college basketball as they are lighting quick for a big man. He constantly pokes the ball out of opposing players hands which can be seen in example A: http://www.thefansgm.com/2013/03/nerlens-noels-nonchalant-steal.html and example B: http://www.thefansgm.com/2013/03/nerlens-noel-picks-pocket-of-guard.html.
His overall ability to get steals
Along with his hands, Nerlens Noel shows great reaction time and actually led the SEC in steals before his injury. He has great anticipation and picks off passes like it is second nature. He averaged over 2 steals per game which is just unheard of for a big man and it just adds another tool to his arsenal.
Ability to take games over
It is very rare to find a player that has the ability to take a game over and there are very few in the NBA that have this ability. Noel is part of an even rarer club. He has the ability to take over games on defense. This is best displayed in the Ole Miss game where in the final minutes ( http://www.thefansgm.com/2013/03/nerlens-noels-clutch-block-party.html ), Noel blocked over 5 shots including three dunks that would have shifted the momentum away from Kentucky. He is the best defender in this draft and that cannot be overlooked.
Developing some post moves
In his final few games, you could see his offensive improvement and starting to develop some post moves. Kentucky started to give him the ball more and more and showed trust for Noel. He has a lot of length like I mentioned before which helped him with a quick jump hook that showed promise. With the right coaching staff, he could become a solid offensive option.
High Motor
With big men, you rarely see one that plays his hardest every single play and Noel is one of those rare cases. He goes after every loose ball, dives out of bounds to save balls, and plays hard until the final whistle. A good example of this can be seen at the end of the Texas A&M game (http://www.thefansgm.com/2013/03/nerlens-noel-vs-texas-second-half.html) starting at 2:51 where even though his team is way out of the game, Noel is still fighting for offensive rebounds and playing his heart out. After getting a block or a put back dunk, Noel never show-boats and always hustles back on defense. A high motor is one of my most important qualities for a player to have and Noel sure fits the bill.
Great passer
Noel’s passing ability and court vision doesn’t get talked about close to enough. His passing was so good that Kentucky could still run their offense through him despite having a go to move. He found every cutter and always made a picture perfect pass. If you want to see an example of this, you could literally watch any of my game breakdowns but, two good ones are at the beginning of this video: http://www.thefansgm.com/2013/03/nerlens-noel-vs-south-carolina-second.html where he makes perfect passes but both shots are missed. Being a great passer will make his offensive transition to the NBA much smoother and it is a great asset to have for a big man.
Quick
Nerlens Noel is very fast for a man his size. That can be shown in all of his games where he gets right past his slower defender for the easy shot attempt. His quickness and great passing are just two reasons why is see hope in his offensive game. His ability to get up in the air is insane and even though he leaves after most players, he still gets the block. One thing that I noticed throughout Noel’s game is that because of his quickness, Kentucky doesn’t have a defensive problem when he gets switched to a guard on the perimeter. He is quick enough to stay with the guard and can get back to the paint to contest shots in time.
Has Fundamentals
I absolutely can’t stand it when I see a player not box out on a rebound or don’t go straight up to contest a shot. Let’s just say, Noel makes me happy. He always makes sure to find man and box him out when every shot goes up and it usually gets him more rebounds. The other I noticed is Noel always keeps his arms straight up when contesting a shot under the rim and always jumps straight up instead of slapping his man for the dumb foul. Just doing the little stuff can make big differences.
Cons:
Raw offensively
Even though he showed improvement, Noel’s offense is not ready for the NBA and is going to have a rough rookie season offensively. He needs a lot of work to become an all star and fit the bill for a number 1 draft pick. He definitely has the potential but he has to put in the work and from the kind of player Noel is, it seems like he will. His offense reminds me a lot of Tristan Thompson who after having a very rough rookie campaign, really turned it on in his second season and has proved himself worth being picked number 4. I can see Noel’s transition offensively being similar to Thompson’s.
Gets ball stripped a lot
It’s such a little thing but it bothers me so much. Just like Tristan Thompson, a lot of times when he goes up for a shot, he gets the ball stripped or when he is trying to get the rebound the ball just squirts out. It causes the other team to get extra possessions which can hurt Noel’s team late in games. He improved as the season went on but it still remains a problem and with bigger and stronger players in the NBA, it is only going to become a bigger problem. It can be corrected so I wouldn’t worry about it too much but it is something that you notice when watching his games.
Skinny
By just looking at Noel you can see that he needs to put on weight. This will help him develop a post game and play at the NBA level. With his build it will be harder for him to gain weight than some players but it can be done. He has been bullied at times by stronger opponents but with a player that is as hard working as Noel, I expect him to take the time and effort to put on some muscle.
Free throws
Just like many other big men, Noel can’t shoot free throws. This was one of the many reasons why Kentucky was hesistant to run their offense through Noel because he can’t take advantage of the charity stripe. His free throw percentage is awful and unless Noel wants to play “Hack-a-Noel”, he needs to work on them.
To conclude, Nerlens Noel is very good prospect and most likely will be picked in the top 5. I really like Noel’s potential and could see him as a future NBA All-Defensive First Team type player. He has a very high ceiling and there will be plenty of teams lining up to take a chance on him. 

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