Starting his career at Georgia Tech, Robert Carter transferred upon the conclusion of his sophomore season to Maryland, where he became an integral part of their Sweet Sixteen team after sitting out his mandatory redshirt year. Averaging 19.1 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted as a redshirt junior, the 22 year old Carter certainly has much of what NBA teams are looking for in a modern power forward who can also see minutes as a small-ball center.
Blessed with outstanding overall scoring instincts, Carter has the ability to stretch the floor offensively, displaying solid mechanics and a high level of confidence as a shooter. You would expect Carter's jump shooting percentages to be higher based on the eye test, but he wasn't able to achieve the high level of consistency needed for him to be a threat. He made just 33.3% of his 3.5 three point attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted last season and is just a 29.7% long distance shooter over his three year collegiate career. He will have to show he is capable of being a high percentage shooter from the mid-range and NBA three point line to realize his full offensive potential, even if his soft touch indicates he should be able to do so in time.
Measured at 6'8 with a strong 7'3 wingspan at the NBA Draft Combine, he should have little issue matching up with opposing stretch big man, as he is as strong and long as most centers, even if he's a tad undersized. He has a nice mixture of physical tools, moving well for his size around the court with above average quickness and lateral movement. He does lack elite explosiveness and leaping ability, turning him into a primarily below the rim player.
His frame is a little susceptible to weight gains with his weight fluctuating from 245 pounds to 280 pounds since our first measurement in 2010. He has since slimmed down a bit, currently listed at 251 pounds with 12.5% body fat, one of the higher measurements at the combine. He needs to be careful to not add too much excess weight and lose his agility in the half-court that can give him an edge over his opponent, which will require the discipline to maintain his currently improved conditioning level.
To complement his perimeter shooting, Carter is efficient inside the arc, posting a 62.4% two point field goal percentage. He has displayed soft touch around the rim on offensive rebound putbacks and layups off dump off passes. He can back smaller players down on the block for a hook shot, but isn't yet someone who can reliably score against players his size.
He's also an improving creator off the dribble and is able to attack the rim from the mid-range. Straight line driving mainly to his right, Carter has some good footwork with the ball as he can step away from his defender and even flashed a spin move to get past his man. He sometimes settles for floaters seven to eight feet from the rim instead of driving all the way to the rim, but he did display some touch on these attempts.
His 2.9 assists were the third highest among power forwards in our top 100 and he has been able to keep his head up on drives to find his teammates. This gives him an offensive skill set comprised of the ability to shoot, drive and pass that NBA teams are craving from their modern big man.
One of his biggest areas of improvement offensively is learning to play more within his skill set. He has a tendency to try to do too much, which puts him out of control and leads to turnovers or offensive fouls. Learning his limits to reduce his 3.3 turnovers per 40 minutes pace adjusted will be key as he makes the adjustment to the next level.
Although he doesn't put up elite rebounding numbers playing away from the rim, Carter is certainly willing to contribute on the glass, bringing down 2.6 offensive rebounds and 8.2 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Although he doesn't have the leaping ability to meet the ball at its peak, his length, plus his agility and timing allows him to chase down loose balls which should help him to be a productive rebounder throughout his career.
Defensively, Carter has some potential, but has a ways to go in this area, which may ultimately decide whether he's able to carve out a NBA niche, and to what extent. He moves his feet well but does not have great fundamentals and can be susceptible to taking plays off on this end of the floor, playing too straight up and limiting his lateral quickness. Teams are likely going to ask him to guard perimeter forwards and switch on action outside the three point line, primarily ball screens, so Carter will have to be willing to accept this defensive role with a higher level of energy to move his feet to stay in front of dribble penetration.
His conditioning level will be key throughout his career as Carter played less than thirty minutes per game in each of his collegiate seasons. He can tire easily at times which can lead to some mistakes or some lazy moments. With his expected NBA role, he will need to be maximize his physical tools to help him stay engaged on both ends.
He uses his length and instincts well defensively, with a good mix of statistical production at 1.3 steals and 1.9 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted to go along with his solid defensive rebounding numbers. He utilizes his agility to force turnovers and is a strong player who isn't going to get moved out of the way very often. If he can become more adept at guarding the perimeter, he can develop into a very productive, versatile defender.
Carter certainly has the look of a NBA big man with his impressive length, scoring instincts and solid mobility. The first step for him to break into a NBA rotation is to show he can be a consistent jump shooter and prove he can defend his position adequately. If he can do that while staying on top of his conditioning level, he has an excellent collection of skills that NBA teams value and he should be able to be productive within his role.