Preseason game #4 between Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers hollowed out 35-plus minutes for Jevon Carter. Starting in place of Chris Paul Friday night, Carter was able to finish with a team high in minutes played (34:32) and assists (6).
Carter, who turned 25 years old back in September, is looking to become his own version of a backup point guard for the Suns. The 3-year contract that he had recently signed, guaranteed the defense, hustle, and 38% from beyond the arc. The chance of Carter out-playing his contract is a real thing to consider.
The earned minutes from Friday’s game showed trust from head coach Monty Williams. There is the assurance that Carter will fill many roles when present on the court.
Carter uses the wide open spaces to his advantage and becomes aware and awake when the fast break begins. Keeping his hands busy to tip balls away and having the ball control to go from one end of the court to the other is easy for him.
Knowing when the fast break begins and turning on the jets to beat his defender is a switch that can be turned on without hesitancy.
Playmaking is beginning to sprout in Carter’s game. He is always looking to find the open man and learning to play the pick-and-roll with Deandre Ayton. The pick-and-role or pick-and-pop will be of value when Dario Saric is back and healthy and playing with the second unit.
Carter will continue to dribble until he finds the open man. This is something teammates will get used to and continue to move and cut towards the basket.
Keeping the dribble alive will need to lead to teammates consistently moving to open areas on the court. Over the duration of the season, knowing that Carter is looking to pass first, the assists will continue to grow.
Even on plays where Carter is sitting pretty in the corner, he is always ready for the catch-and-shoot from P.J. Tucker land.
The signs that Carter is showing of maturing as a ball handler and always being the right position to make the correct play, with a few exceptions, has him headed in the right direction. He may not be a future starting point guard for an NBA team, but if that is his goal, he is checking all the right boxes heading in to the start of the 2020-21 season.