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Draft profile: Carlton Carrington

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Semifinal-Pittsburgh vs North Carolina
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Get to know a possible Cavs first round pick.

Carlton Carrington has an NBA-ready skillset with his shooting profile and a perimeter shot that improved throughout the season. A willingness to score on and off the ball would fit with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sam Veccine of The Athletic had the Cavs taking Carrington at 20 in a recent mock draft.

General Information

College: Pittsburgh

Position: Combo guard

Year: Freshman

Stats: 13.8 points (41% FG / 32.2 3PT% / 78.5 FT%), 5.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists


Age: 18

Height: 6 ft 3(¾) inches

Weight: 194.5 lbs

Wingspan: 6’8 ft


Carrington excels at shot-creating in various ways. During his freshman campaign with the Panthers, Carrington displayed a knack for generating quality looks whether serpentining his way through traffic or relocating off the ball. While the stats would cause one to assume Carrington is a loose cannon offensively, he possesses a decent shot selection, very infrequently suffering from a tunnel vision mentality.

While splitting primary ball-handling duties with his backcourt mate Ishmael Leggett, Carrington was essentially the primary break starter for Pitt. This was where you can see the flashes of how Carrington almost has a Russell Westbrook-like kickstarting ability. The freshman guard can haul down a board and use his speed and laser outlet passing to make opposing defenses have to push to keep up with the high-octane offense he can generate.

Carrington has a unique dribbling style – it’s twitchy and see him switching between speeds and style often causing defenders to not properly position themselves to stay in front of Carrington. Oftentimes this level of separation, whether at the perimeter or while shaking a man off his hip allows Carrington to seem almost alone on most shot attempts.

He also has a knack for realizing the attention he is garnering and can throw some absolute missiles across his body. Oftentimes to the detriment of his teammates, that while accurate, is too much for them to handle at times. At the NBA level, his teammates will be more accustomed to the speed of his passes and will convert on the looks he can generate.

The physical frame of Carrington stands out almost instantly. Measuring in at nearly 6’4 with a wingspan of 6’8, he has a long reach that flashes on both ends of the ball. Multiple times throughout a game, Carrington uses that reach to go around defenders on layups or to deter opposing guards on the defensive end. With a frame like his, with an NBA offseason training regime, one could imagine that Carrington’s build could develop similarly to an Ayo Dossumo type.


Carrington while driving favors his right hand. In most games, the game plan fell into two primary objectives: keep him to his left, and allow him to fire from three. Carrington generates quality looks around the rim most times, and even if contested can use the reach to scoop around. The left-handed finishes simply do not fall to the same extent as the right.

The three-point shot is widely volatile. Carrington struggled to find a groove from deep early on in the season. This led to a stretch of games where Carrington would have to rely on foul generation and the mid-range that he loves to get to. However, there were signs of this turning around late in the season. While overall he shot 32% on the season, Carrington shot 43% from deep in his closing eight contests of the season.

Defensively, the frame can buoy some deficiencies that stand out for Carrington. His is very wiry, allowing most who have more weight on them to get past him. Despite the length he provides, he does not recover well once beaten and often gives up.

He also has a tendency to ball-watch which allows his man to cut to the basket. He has the frame and theoretical skill set to potentially have two-way impact. However, the buy-in on every possession is the sale the team that drafts him needs to make.

Where he could help the Cavaliers

The Cavaliers had limited players who could self-create off the dribble. With Carrington, in steps a player who at times this season relied solely on himself to generate many of his looks. He displayed throughout his freshman season an ability to locate others while drawing double teams and traps. Carrington also provides activity off the ball as well, displaying a good feel for relocation off the ball leading to open looks.

Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell burdened the load of starting the offense. With occasional games from Caris LeVert to bail them out from being the sole offensive kick starters. Carrington provides an alternative to Caris LeVert and immediately jumps Craig Porter Jr. as the offense is more NBA-ready, while also providing size the backcourt severely lacks.

Game to watch

NC State at Pittsburgh


Carrington isn’t as much of a project as some of the other players floated for the Cavaliers. With Carrington, the Cavaliers can have him get minutes as his shot will translate to the next level. Carrington has shown a comfort and cohesion playing alongside other ball-dominant guards at Pittsburgh. Playing next to a Mitchell or Garland would allow the Cavaliers to have a capable guard who can catch fire at any moment. Carrington offers upside and immediate value which is something the Cavs desperately need from their role players.


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