Knicks Draft: Vernon Carey Jr. is an underrated prospect

Vernon Carey Jr, New York Knicks draft prospect (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
Vernon Carey Jr, New York Knicks draft prospect (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks should keep their eyes open in considering Duke big man Vernon Carey Jr. in the upcoming draft.

It’s obvious the New York Knicks frontcourt needs reconstruction. With the exception of the highly coveted Mitchell Robinson, nobody else on the roster seems to cut it.

Julius Randle doesn’t fit with the team, and if the organization wants to see RJ Barrett progress upwardly, it makes sense to find Randle a new home. Bobby Portis is unlikely to be back next year due to his contract. The Knicks might bring Taj Gibson back, but more as a mentor and not as the starting center.

Thats why it’s important for New York to do their due diligence to add talent and versatility to the frontcourt for next season. The 2020 NBA Draft includes some talented big men that could end up as good solutions for the Knicks.

Vernon Carey Jr. is an intriguing prospect for the New York Knicks

One of the top bigs in this draft class is Duke center Vernon Carey Jr., who was one of the best players in college basketball last season.

Carey Jr. was the main focal point for Duke this past season, leading the team in points, rebounds, and blocks. The son of a former offensive linemen , Carey Jr. shows that athleticism runs well in the family.

With averages of 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game last season, Carey Jr. was a force on the interior, shooting almost 58 percent from the field. The 2019 McDonald’s All-American’s play earned him honors such as Second-team All-American, First-team All-ACC, and ACC Rookie of the Year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it rid the chances of seeing tournament play this March. Players like Carey Jr. could’ve utilized March Madness as a draft stock boost. NBA teams give tournament play a serious look when scouting players because the level of competition is at the highest.

At 6-foot-10, the 270 pound left-handed center can run the floor on both ends. Though he is most likely going to have to lose some of the weight at the next level, Carey Jr. still has his strength and athleticism to rely on.

Carey Jr. is a good post-up player, who utilizes his strength and frame to dominate the interior. He also has good footwork and speed in the post, which can be surprising due to his stature, and he uses his touch to finish in the post.

Vernon Carey Jr: Defense

An underrated aspect in Carey Jr.’s game is his overall defense, which has the opportunity to get even better at the next level. Carey Jr. is an active defender, and is committed on the defensive end. He is like a brick wall in the post, which means he is able to hold his own, but what’s more impressive is his activity on the perimeter.

Last season, Carey Jr. had a couple of plays in which he played the passing lanes on the perimeter, which resulted in a steal and a fast-break score. Being able to read the offense and pursuit the ball at his size shouldn’t casually be looked at.

Vernon Carey Jr: Shooting

Carey Jr. is capable three-point shooter, even though he didn’t shoot many at Duke. Out of 21 attempts, Carey Jr. made 8 threes, which equals to shooting 38 percent from three. Carey Jr. has good mechanics and a smooth jump shot.

If given the chance, Carey Jr. can be a reliable spot-up and pick and pop shooter at the next level. With repetition, Carey Jr. can be a league-average shooter since he already has good form.

New York clearly prioritizes Mitchell Robinson as their next great center and leader of the frontcourt. However, the Knicks are going to need depth around Robinson to become formidable contenders.

Adding a player like Carey Jr. into the mix can do nothing but help the Knicks in the long run.