There’s little surprise here, but according to Jeff Goodman: Vernon Carey Jr. is set to become Duke’s latest one-and-done big man. Carey is expected to declare the 2020 NBA Draft; Goodman notes that the 6-foot-10 PF/C intends to remain in the draft.
En route to All-American status, Carey, who was also named National Freshman of the Year by the NABC, averaged 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. One of the most efficient hubs of half-court offense in the country, VCJ posted a monster usage rate of 30.3 percent, while drawing 7.9 fouls per 40 minutes. In 31 games this season, Carey threw down 47 dunks, too.
Duke big man Vernon Carey Jr. is expected to declare for the NBA Draft with the intention of staying in, source told @Stadium. Carey, who averaged 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds, is projected as a first-rounder by multiple NBA executives.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 10, 2020
Carey posted a block rate of 5.8 percent and a defensive rebound rate of 26.2 percent, both of which are big-time numbers. However, VCJ will have to improve on the defensive end of the floor. His pick-and-roll coverages this season were passable, but there’s so much room for necessary growth, here.
The NBA is a ball-screen league; he will be tested. Carey, in general, needs better awareness off the basketball while in space as a help defender
Offensively, Carey is a solid interior scorer; he found plenty of points this season on post-ups, rim runs (1.5 points per possession) and put-backs. According to Synergy Sports, Carey averaged 7.5 post-up points per game on 53.2 percent shooting.
For a player with so much power around the hoop, Carey is fairly nimble; he plays with good hands and quick feet. No one is Zion Williamson, but VCJ was essentially an automatic bucket, too, when he was able to get position and drop his right shoulder.
To go along with that, Carey is a fairly clever post passer. On the next level, Carey will need as much offensive impact as possible. That’s his sell. Without the defense, VCJ must present very real, efficient scoring pop.
Carey shot 8-of-21 on 3-point attempts this season. Will he be able to offer some stretch to an NBA frontcourt? The answer to that may have a large say in his longterm player arc.
Carey is now the third Duke player to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft; earlier this week, Cassius Stanley, a classmate of his, also declared for the draft. Back in late March, sophomore point guard Tre Jones did the same.
Along with Jones, Carey projects as a first-round talent; however, there’s risk here. Carey has red flags as a defender, and his defining offensive skills involves a post-up. That player type simply isn’t as valuable now, as it was even 10 years ago: the archetypal post-up threat with shaky defense. Those players, generally, come off the bench.
Carey can score, though. And if the shot fully develops, then Carey’s potential and floor as a prospect grow, too. Bottom line: VCJ needs a path to staying on the floor more in the NBA.