The 16th one-and-done player from Duke University would be a solid choice when the Philadelphia 76ers choose their player at No. 10 in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Wendell Carter Jr. is likely to be gone before the Sixers make their selection. If he’s on the board, well, it would add more credibility to an already improved roster.
In his one year with the Blue Devils, Carter averaged 13.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.1 blocked shots per game. Statistics don’t tell the entire story as Carter played a large role in Duke going 29-8 and advancing to the Midwest Regional Final before falling to No. 1 seed Kansas this past season.
The 6-foot-10 Carter measured into a 7-foot-5 wingspan and could be an immediate impact player at both ends of the floor.
The Sixers need another key player capable of shooting, rebounding, running the court, and being a perimeter defender. As head coach Brett Brown is fond of saying, Carter “ticks all those boxes.”
Carter also appears to be a team player and he’s saying all the right things after working out for teams in the lottery.
“I’m good at all the intangibles, the little things that a lot of fans might not recognize but a lot of coaches do,” Carter told reporters after a recent workout with the Chicago Bulls.
Carter, who turned 19 on April 16, became just the second player in Duke history to shoot 50 percent or better from the field, 40 percent or better from beyond the 3-point arc and 70 percent or better from the free throw line. Shane Battier also accomplished the feat in 1998-99 and eventually went on to have a highly successful NBA career.
Like Battier, Carter also takes immense pride on defense. For a teenager, that’s a huge bonus for an NBA rookie.
“My emotions are kind of all over the place,” Carter told ESPN.com’s The Undefeated when announcing his decision to put his name in the NBA Draft. “I’m excited to be chasing something that I wanted to chase my entire life. It was a pretty tough decision. I just wanted to make sure I made the right decision. I’m just thankful that I had an opportunity to make that decision. I’m blessed to even have the opportunity to make a tough decision like that. I think I made the best one.”
Carter still has plenty of work ahead, however.
In the loss to Kansas, he played 22 minutes, scored 10 points, but grabbed just two rebounds and fouled out. The NBA is a marathon 82-game season with the playoffs unlikely as a rookie.
Regardless, it’s a bigger stage with a season that will resemble three college seasons mixed into one. But with Carter’s work ethic, improvement will be evident.
Being able to shoot and having a willingness to play defense will go a long way at the next level. The young Sixers would surely benefit from having Carter on their team. He would be a solid complement to Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and Dario Saric, among others.
The big question will be, however, if Carter is still on the draft board at No. 10.