“Situational Analysis” is a series of articles that seeks to examine the circumstances that most often influence an NBA prospect’s success. Each player will be scored on a scale from 1-10 in four different categories: NBA-specific skill(s), fatal flaw(s), collegiate/overseas/pre-NBA environment, and ideal NBA ecosystem.

Carlton Kaleel “Bub” Carrington III is a 19-year-old guard from Baltimore who averaged 13.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists for the Pittsburgh Panthers. He is expected to be selected in the middle of the first round. NBADraft.net currently has him projected at No. 12.

NBA-Specific Skills

Basketball’s current Sloan Conference-influenced geometry emphasizes the value of two main areas of the basketball court: the space directly behind the 3-point line and the space immediately next to the rim. Of course, there is significant square footage in between those areas that often goes neglected.

Carlton Carrington is a master of the NBA’s forgotten territory.

Carrington is a truly elite bucket-getter in these lower-efficiency areas. With an And1 Mixtape handle and a yo-yo’s change of pace, Carrington is exceptional at getting a defender on his heels and sticking a 15-footer in his eye.

In today’s social media parlance, Carrington is a hooper. To quote legendary Houston rapper Scarface, Carrington “makes the impossible look easy.” The higher the degree of difficulty, the better the shot. He only needs to see one or two find the bottom of the net before he enters NBA Jam “he’s on fire” mode.

Carrington isn’t a one-dimensional gunner, either. He has a point guard’s mentality and prefers to get his teammates involved the second a defense sends a second man in his direction. He’s tall for a playmaker – 6-5 with a 6-9 wingspan – and uses that extra height to spot open teammates from unorthodox angles. He keeps his cool under pressure and takes care of the ball for such a high-usage player (4.1 assists to 1.9 turnovers).

He also gets after it on the glass, rebounding at a rage much bigger than his position. He was the rare triple-double threat in college last season and finds ways to contribute during games when his jumper isn’t falling.

Throw in his age (just turned 19) and his projected development curve and Carrington could be one of the true steals in this draft.

On a scale from 1-10, Carrington’s stat-stuffing upside rates at a 9.

Fatal Flaws

The math will always be against him.

There is a reason why 3s and layups are the most sought-after shots – they are the most efficient. However, Carrington’s accuracy from 3-point range comes and goes (32% on 6 attempts a game) and he struggles to finish at the rim against size/athleticism. He is a below-the-rim player right now, opting for either kickout passes or impossible spinning layups. If Carrington can’t take advantage of these high-value areas, he might find it difficult to carve out an NBA niche exclusively in the midrange.

His athleticism is good-not-great, which hinders him on the defensive end, as well. For as savvy as he plays with the ball in his hands, Carrington can get lost on screens and struggles to keep his body in front of quicker guards.

There is hope that his 3-point percentage can tick upward a few points, given that he won’t be asked to shoulder such a heavy NBA workload. His free-throw percentage (78.5%) is also an indicator that he can shoot it a bit better. But until we see it in action, teams will dare him to shoot and they won’t bite on his stutter-step hesitation moves.

On a scale from 1 (not a concern) to 10 (serious hindrance), Carrington’s inefficiency rates at a 9.

Pre-NBA Setting

Bub was a standout three-sport athlete in Baltimore before locking in on basketball at Saint Frances Academy.

He was an early commit to the Pitt Panthers after a strong junior season and elected to forego the recruitment chaos that tends to accompany players of his caliber during his senior year.

He stepped into the Pitt program as an immediate contributor, dropping a triple-double in his first exhibition game. Jeff Capel trusted Carrington with the keys to the offense right away and he delivered.

Carrington and Blake Hinson led the Panthers to 22 wins and a furious charge toward the NCAA Tournament, but their bubble burst after a loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. A March Madness run would have helped boost Carrington’s stock, but a strong combine has significantly helped his stock to the point where he received one of 24 green room invitations.

On a scale from 1-10, Carrington’s pre-NBA career is a 7.5, but the arrow is pointing upward.

Ideal NBA Ecosystem

Carrington spent much of the season hovering around the 20s-30s in most mock drafts, but he has seen his name rise to the low end of the lottery after scouts and draft-watchers took a closer look at his tape.

He is the kind of high-upside, high-IQ player Sam Presti loves to draft. It’s hard to imagine a better mentor/role model for Carrington than Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, so it would not surprise me to hear his name called at No. 12.

The Sacremento Kings at No. 13 could also use Carrington’s services, as he is tall/long enough to play alongside De’Aaron Fox and could eventually assume lead playmaking duties on bench units. The Kings need to find ways to lessen the load on Fox, and Carrington could be an intriguing bench option at either backcourt spot.

The Miami Heat at No. 15 don’t typically opt for teenagers, but they desperately need additional playmaking and shot creation off the bench. Carrington is a hard worker and would fit into Heat Culture quite well.

Even though the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 16 are in the market for a bench sparkplug, I find it hard to believe that Daryl Morey would draft anyone with Carrington’s shot profile.

On a scale from 1-10, Carrington’s situational dependence is a 9. He could struggle if he finds himself on a team that doesn’t value his midrange mastery, but the right franchise could turn him into a valuable backcourt contributor, with the upside to become even more.


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