Sixth Pick Tournament Round One: Michael Carter-Williams vs Trade Up

Published: May 31, 2013

The Case for Michael Carter-Williams (Ryan Schwan)

For this off-season, Dell Demps should have one overwhelming priority: improving on last year’s terrible perimeter defense.  The team already can rebound on both ends of the floor.  They can shoot.  They were decent at holding on to the ball.  They can pass.  They can block shots.  What they can’t do is put pressure on anyone on the perimeter.  In fact, they were damn near last at every defensive metric Synergy Stats tracks on the perimeter – pick and roll defense, spot-up shooting defense, Iso’s, all of it.  As a result the team got almost no steals, and applied  no pressure on anyone to force turnovers and get easy baskets.  They were simply unable to create any chaos.

So when Dell turns to the players in the top of this draft, there are only two players who can claim to have the energy, size, and numbers to project as elite perimeter stoppers.  And most likely, only one of those players will be available when the Hornets pick at 6:  Michael Carter-Williams, point guard out of Syracuse.  Hey look!  Point guard!  A position of need.

Carter-Williams is an athletic monster whose combine numbers compare favorably to the super-athletic guards that have come out of the draft recently.  In fact, he posts more impressive numbers than both Derrick Rose and John Wall when it comes to agility, leaping ability and size measurements.  Most impressive, standing 6’5” he is the tallest lottery-projected point guard since Shaun Livingston almost a decade ago.

Just on the basis of that size and agility scouts would drool over his defensive potential, but the numbers say that potential is already being realized.  Syracuse was a monster defensive squad this season, and Carter-Williams averaged 3.2 steals per 40 minutes. (pace adjusted)  That leads all of the top 100 draft prospects for this season, with only Victor Oladipo even coming close.  His block numbers – despite playing in a zone that kept him from tightly covering anyone – ranked right at the top of guards.

Combine his defensive potential with the best floor game this draft has to offer(easily the best assist numbers of any prospect), and you’ve got a player who could have the same sort of instant impact on a team’s success that Ricky Rubio did for the Wolves two seasons ago.

So the questions must be asked.  Michael Carter-Williams will help plug this team’s biggest hole – perimeter defense – without having to give up any additional assets.  Why move up in a draft to take players who will not address the problem?  Is there anyone in this draft that is a sure thing?  No.  So why spend assets like Vasquez, Lopez, or other draft picks to marginally improve the rookie we get?  If those are assets on the table, they should be spent on players who have proven they can play, not players in what scouts are calling the weakest draft in years.

Dell should stand pat, take Carter-Williams, and use those assets to plug the gaping hole on the wing this off-season.

Vote MCW.

The Case for Trade Up (Trew)

Let’s start off by saying,  I know the rumor was that Dell would have traded out of the top spot if we got so lucky. I know this draft is supposed to be w-e-a-k. You wanna know what else I know? Fortune favors the bold. What’s the boldest thing to do in the 2013 NBA Draft besides drafting Andrew Wiggins a year ahead of time and just seeing what happens? How about trading up with Cleveland.

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of NBA fans all over the world thinking, “oh man, New Orleans is serious. They don’t care about Andrew Wiggins. They are winning games next season.” Do you hear that other sound? That’s the sound of New Orleans Arena staff draping playoff t-shirts over the seats so we can all look the same. Oh and that sound? That’s a sold-out Dock giving a standing ovation to the Pelicans for their surprising deep playoff run in 2014.

How do we get there? I’ll tell you.

The New Orleans Pelicans trade this year’s #6 pick and 2014’s top-3 protected pick for Cleveland’s #1 overall pick.

Who do we draft with the pick? Well, we draft whoever Monty and Dell want to draft. In Demps we trust, right? Here’s a haiku I wrote exclusively for Dell Demps.

In Demps we Trust, right?
Yeah he’s good at trading stuff
Kentucky frontcourt?

Let’s say Demps falls in love with Otto Porter. Great, now we can spend that free agent bank on a starting center. Oh, Demps thinks Nawlin’ should nab Nerlins? Cool, now we can spend that free agent cheddar on a small forward. Hold up, you’re telling me that Demps and Oladipo already have a secret handshake and watch movies together? Nice, now we can shop Eric Gordon for whatever we damn want.

Options. Excitement. I’m voting for options and excitement. The Pels gunning for the #1 overall pick is like saying, “We’re looking at the playoffs next season and we want everyone to know it.” It’s like saying “Bold moves for bold teams.” It’s like saying, “we’re excited about the draft, but we’re more excited about this being the last time we’re excited for the draft for a long time.”

Most talking heads are chattering about this being the weakest draft in years and next year’s being one of the strongest. But if I know Tom Benson like I know Tom Benson (clarification: I don’t actually know Tom Benson) then I know he wants to put a playoff team on the court and he wants to do this now. Through the draft and a key free agent signing and a trade using one of our assets we could dramatically remake this team. I believe I heard on a certain Bourbon Street Shots podcast called “In the N.O.” that Ryan Schwan hopes that the only players currently on this team that are still on it two years from now is Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson and Jason Smith. In my scenario, Ryan, I am giving you that chance. So I know it’s awkward but you should probably vote for this scenario and not yours.

Michael Carter-Williams? I don’t have a serious problem with the guy but we already have Austin Rivers. Monty Williams is the president of the Austin Rivers Fan Club. Sure, there may be less than 25 people in that club currently but if Monty gets his way they’re gonna run out of membership cards by 2015. Do you know how time consuming getting more membership cards would be? Also, guys with hyphenated names. Be careful. Do you remember that Aminu guy who used to play for us? His instagram is weird.

In closing, I want you to imagine the billboards touting the future of Crescent City Basketball except this time next to Anthony Davis it’s the 2013 #1 overall pick instead of Austin Rivers. Picture the side of the Arena with #1 + #1 = 2day is our day (That’s a terrible idea but you get my point).

Vote for excitement. Vote for action. Vote for the most effectively used italics on this page. Vote for being bold. With the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans select…(wouldn’t that be fun?)


[polldaddy poll=7140428]

For previous Sixth Pick Tournament matchups, click here.


  1. daThRONe

    May 31, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I went with MCW. Don’t care for any of these choices. However I don’t want to give up next years pick when I don’t love any prospect at the top of the draft.

    • Caffeinedisaster

      June 3, 2013 at 8:40 am

      daThRONe Agree about next year’s pick.  It ain’t going NOWHERE.

  2. usnfish

    May 31, 2013 at 9:23 am

    MCW’s measurables are really good.  But Syracuse’s defense and NBA defense are practically different sports.  Syracuse has had an amazing defense year in and out.  Tell me quickly the last elite defensive wing defender that program has produced.

    • Houpgarou

      May 31, 2013 at 10:41 am

      tru dat, but let’s not penalize the guy for playing in a great defensive system.  he’s steal got the height, the length the athleticism and the instincts.  motor, charcater, those are the questions?

    • 504ever

      May 31, 2013 at 11:03 am

      Syracuse plays zone almost exclusively and the NBA teams play man almost exclusively.  So no one has any idea how well C-W will do in man or even if he understands man principles.  So I think his NBA defensive value is way overstated, here.  I still vote for him over trade up and lose more assets, but I question if he is really the PG pick at 6.

  3. Bigeauz

    May 31, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I’m torn on how to vote. I would vote trade up in this situation, but not for next year’s pick. I think it could be done for less than that, like a player. If it couldn’t then I would stand pat and take BPA. Right now, I just don’t see how we get out of next year’s lottery quite yet, as much as I hate to say it (plenty of time for Dell to make moves and stuff, I know). But using two first round picks for MCW? I just can’t get behind that. If we were one role player away from the playoffs, I could see it. But we are not even close. I guess I have to with MCW and then vote against him in the next round no matter who he’s up against.

    • Bigeauz

      May 31, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Oops, typo. Not 2 first rounders for MCW, but for Noel or McLemore or whoever.

      • Houpgarou

        May 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm

        It does seem like a lot for a trade up.  On the other hand the first pick(s) are only available at all because this is perceived as a weak draft.  Most years we wouldn’t have a shot, so if we really feel like mclemore is going to be a star, the fact that he’s attainable at all is something worth considering.  regardless, I vote mcw cuz I think he’ll be real good.

      • Bigeauz

        May 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm

        Houpgarou Bigeauz I hear you, but the reason the pick(s) are available is because teams don’t feel like the top prospects are worth one high pick in the first place, much less two. Like I said, I would have voted up if we could trade 6 and RoLo to move to 1 or 2, but not two first round picks in this class. Next year might be a different story.

  4. Houpgarou

    May 31, 2013 at 10:56 am

    MCW is one of the prospects that would make me very very excited about opening day.  Love Schwan’s  argument (even if our def backcourt stats are of course terrible you could almost say skewed with greivis playing all the minutes at the point, flanked by two rookies or a sg with bone spurs and no quad muscles, anything would be a massive improvement!?!) with a few really great finishers in transition like the big easy, rivers, (bring back AFA!), gordon if we retain him, we could really benefit with a lot of easy buckets if we could only generate a little pressure on the ball.  a healthy gordon and mcw or schroeder in the backcourt would wreak havoc on opposing guards.  As it becomes apparent with cp3 looking iffy in lala and the magic poised to make a major bid that bledsoe is looking less likely, I’m really hoping we end up with one of those two dudes.  Ideally I would love to trade back a few slots and take whichever one is available in the 9-12 range.

  5. Papa Pelican

    May 31, 2013 at 11:47 am

    MCW maybe but im for Burke

  6. Houpgarou

    May 31, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    ” Carter-Williams shot looking better. Shot around 55% NBA 3. 65% college 3. 80% mid range during workout.”
    per chad ford on twitter about two days ago

  7. jsl05

    May 31, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I’m not a lover of any of the guys at the top of the draft, so I don’t want to give up assets.  Plus, I like MCW’s versatility and length and believe he could be an immediate impact player for the Pels.

  8. JabberWalker

    May 31, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Schwann must believe he’s got this in the bag because he hardly covered the need for a real play-maker (and a much better one than Burke).
    The idea of trading up completely hinges on what we’re giving up.  The 6th pick AND X(not Xavier(I wish)).  Because of the examples given and the fact that I am on the MCW bandwagon I vote for MCW.
    Oh, and I am definitely one of the 25 people in the Rivers fan club.  Maybe he doesn’t become a star, but he will be better than serviceable.
    Oh, and can we talk about the future power rankings, how wrong they are to put NOLA so low, and how wrong the analysis was of Rivers (did they watch him or just blindly follow the discourse), AD (apparently he didnt play too well this year.  He just put up numbers comparable to Dwight Howard, and KG’s rookie seasons when he got minutes), and Dell (hit and miss?  He’s made what, 2 bad decisions and a myriad of turning nothing into something.).

    • Michael McNamara

      May 31, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      Future power rankings were a joke. Not even worth talking about to be honest. We know the truth, that is all that matters

    • Jared Ennis

      June 1, 2013 at 12:03 am

      JabberWalker Glad to have more people in the Rivers fan club! I agree and expect him to be a good contributor.

  9. fearthepelicans

    May 31, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Carter-Williams for me. We need a playmaking PG.

  10. JayDogon

    May 31, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I voted Carter-Williams but if I could I would rather trade down to get MCW if his stock stayed where it is now. Of course there’s always the possibility that he impresses enough during workouts to warrant the #6 pick

  11. thebetterdirtybirds

    May 31, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I like MCW more than Burke, McCollum, Len, Bennett, or anyone else that might be available to us at 6 considering Oladipo, Noel, Porter, and Mclemore will be gone. He brings immediate defense which we desperately need. He brings playmaking. He brings a pass-first mentality, letting Davis and Gordon (or whoever we might trade him for ) score. Averaging double digit assists in college is extremely tough to do in those low scoring games, showing how big of a part he was to Syracuse. Shooting is the easiest thing to improve, and his shot isn’t too bad. He can already score in the paint using his athleticism, and the jumper will come. I am extremely high on MCW because I don’t think a guy like Len will make us a playoff team. I do wish we can trade a role player for a late lottery or mid first rounder and grab a small forward like Franklin or KCP, because they also said the Kyrie draft was very weak and now we have guys like Irving, the 2 Thompsons, Leonard, and others becoming big parts of their franchises.

  12. HollisBuckeye21

    May 31, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    To me, it’s not the appeal of Michael Carter-Williams that wins me over in this matchup. It is the lack of appeal in trading up. There is not any talent, that I think is worth moving up from 6 to obtain. My personal opinion. I think there is talent there, but not enough of a dropoff where I am trading up to obtain a guy. Love Trey Burke. Am I moving up for him? No. Yeah, I like Otto Porter more than most, but I’m not dealing an extra asset for him. Does Noel and Davis intrigue me? Sure, but why lose the extra piece to make it happen.
    I expect MCW to have a rising stock. His length is something that can’t be taught. And MCW appears to know how to use this. It is always tough to judge the defensive capabilities of Syracuse products, look at Wes Johnson. It appears that MCW has strong instincts and IQ, but it’s not as easy to gauge. Seems to have a strong court vision and obviously put up good numbers in his shooting drills. He’s intriguing to say the least. Is he worthy of six, who knows. I just really think he will have a high rising stock come draft night. 
    I take MCW. Honestly, I would be disappointed to see the Pelicans trade up come draft time.

  13. lsutigers33

    May 31, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    agree, no trade up at all.   MCW has to prove he can hit the j more consistent than he did.  If his workout goes well, he could get picked before TB.

  14. chiefyoungblood

    June 1, 2013 at 3:46 am

    Remind me, when can we trade Gordon to Phoenix ? Cause a 5/6 pick swap that included a deal structured around Gordon and Dudley  ( If that’s possible for them cap wise ) ,and  if Oladipo  is still on the board.  I’d prefer a few free agent PG’s over anyone in this draft , this would net a rotation/spot starter and steady hand over the SF in Dudley , gets rid of Eric Gordon’s everything… replaces him with Monty’s soon to be favorite player Victor Oladipo the perpetual hustle machine …. Again though will we even be able to trade Gordon to Phoenix by the draft ?
    anyway, I wouldn’t wanna trade any real assets or try to move up to far to reach of Burke or anything  , but if Oladipo can be had with a smart reasonable deal with Phoenix are Charlotte I’d much prefer that to MCW.  I do like MCW but not at six .

    • Michael McNamara

      June 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Gordon can be moved to any team other than Phoenix right now if he agrees to go. On July 14th he can be moved to any team, including Phoenix, whether he gives permission or not. Can’t be traded to Phoenix before then

      • cnoel23

        June 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm

        Michael McNamara I wonder if Orlando would be interested?  I would consider packaging Eric Gordon, the #6 pick, and a future Top 5-8 protected first round pick for their #2 overall pick, Jameer Nelson, and Quentin Richardson. 
        Orlando would get Gordon, the #6 pick, and another first round pick potentially as early as next season while dumping two pieces they would love to get rid of in the process.
        We would free ourselves of Eric Gordon, draft his replacement Ben McLemore(who is a great scorer and would be a great 1-2 punch with Anthony Davis), and still be in the sweepstakes for a Top 5 pick next year if we were to get lucky with the ping pong balls.  Also, Nelson and Richardson would be in the final year of their contract and would be good pieces to trade away mid-season for Dell.

    • 504ever

      June 1, 2013 at 10:47 am

      Remember Phoenix has a new GM, so there is no reason to believe they still want Gordon.

  15. daThRONe

    June 1, 2013 at 6:38 am

    I don’t care for MCW because he’s a poor shooter so much so many coaches dared him to shoot. He turned the ball over at in insane rate during large stretches last season. He’s being given credit as a great defender, but what I saw was a cog in that great Cuse’ zone more than a great one-on-one guy on the perimeter.
    Not really impressed with him making jumpers during private workouts in an empty gym.

  16. nolafredo

    June 1, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Took the “Trade Up” option. 
    To me, the question is decided by assessing where I expect this team to end next season.  Do I think they’ll be one of the worst teams in the league?  If I think that, I stay where I’m at, take BPA and hope to land in the Top 5 next Draft. Or do I think that Davis will improve, that the FA/Draft additions will have an impact and that players will stay healthy?  If I do, then I don’t think they’ll be with the Orlandos, Sacramentos or Charlottes next season.  I expect that the team will end up somewhere just outside the WC playoffs and with a pick somewhere between 11 and 14 next summer.
     If that’s the case, then I’d rather swap that pick now for a chance at ending with with a choice of McLemore or Noel. I’d opt for McLemore and have him fill that Eric Gordon hole, then move EG for whatever other piece can be obtained — a SF or PG.  
     If 2014-15 is the year we expect the Pelicans to challenge for playoff contention, they’re not going to be doing it carrying a lot of young, inexperienced players.

  17. Jared Ennis

    June 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Dont really want to trade up unless Noel/Mcelmore for some insane reason fall out of the top 3. Not a big fan of MCW either; although I heard AD seemed to be talking to him a lot at the lottery. Would rather CJ or Oladipo if they were still on the board.

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