Many NBA hopefuls dream about getting their name called on draft day. Rookie big man Robert Carter Jr. is no different. However for some players, like Carter, being drafted does not alway present an ideal path to the NBA.
We often do not think of why a player goes undrafted. Common sense tells us that players who do get picked are better suited to play at the next level in comparison to those who do not get drafted. But this is not always the case.
The 6'8" 250 pound power forward is full of NBA potential. So much so that according to Carter's agent Todd Ramasar, both the Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets wanted to use a second round pick on the promising 22 year old. But with the help of his agent, Carter declined.
"It was just the way the draft went. I had a few teams in the draft that really liked me to come in and play right away." Carter said Thursday at the Warriors' summer league team open practice in Santa Cruz.
"The players that were taken along with the players that were available at the time kind of knocked me out of those situations. So the teams that kept talking to us towards the end of the draft gave me the opportunity to draft and stash then come back [the following year].
Rather than playing a season overseas, Carter believes he possess the talent to come in and help an organization right away. Something he views as an investment in himself. Golden State hopes to see positive returns on this investment as well, as they first contacted Carter's camp days before the draft.
"It wasn't something that came up during the draft. This was something that they had been pursuing since prior to the draft." Carter's agent told the Baltimore Sun's Don Markus. "Around pick 45 to 50, they reached out and I discussed it with Robert and discussed it with them after the draft that [Golden State] was where he was going to go.
"With all the injuries and all the free agents, they are going to need to fill in the roster with minimum [salary] contracts, or close to it," Ramasar said. "Robert's style of play, also the Warriors' history of finding guys that are undrafted and keeping them on the roster, like Ian Clarke or James Michael McAdoo or Kent Bazemore or Justin Holiday, everything's in Robert's favor."
The Warriors have built their championship caliber core primarily through the draft. In addition, they have a proven track record of finding talent from lottery picks to undrafted free agents. While a roster spot is not guaranteed, Carter is looking at a great opportunity to prove that he is capable of contributing at the NBA level right away.
"I'm excited to just to go out there and compete man, this is the NBA. I've been waiting for this my whole life so I'm excited every time I'm able to step on the floor in an NBA jersey and to go out and compete and show everyone what I'm capable of."
Most people know of Carter's ability to put the ball in the basket. But with Golden State's offensive firepower, Carter will need to showcase other aspects of his game in Vegas if he wants to secure a roster spot.
"Everybody knows that I can score the ball from different areas on the floor in different ways." Carter said. "So I want to show the same versatility on the defensive end. I want to show that I can guard multiple positions and rebound at a high level. And just show that my body is continuing to change and that I'm becoming more athletic and more lean."
Carter contributes his ability to shed excess weight to his focus on nutrition. Stating that the combination of his hard work ethic with a renewed emphasis on nutrition has resulted in weight seemingly falling off his body. According to Carter's agent, his body fat percentage has already dropped 3% since measuring in at 13% at the NBA combine last month.
Robert Carter Jr. seems to have the right mindset heading into summer league. The Warriors have not signed him yet, so there will be plenty of other teams scouting his game in Vegas. Ultimately, Carter understands that there is only so much he can do to control his NBA destiny.
"At the end of the day it's not our decision." Carter said. "We can only go out there and control what is up to us. We can only go out there and play and try to win." When asked how he plans to make the team, his answer was simple: "Just compete every day, be sharp and everything else will take care of itself."
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