Michael Carter-Williams has returned to the Bulls for his first games back since October 31st. Carter-Williams has only played four games for Chicago this season so he is still sort of a mystery when it comes to what he can exactly do for the Bulls. So let’s break down his game on both ends of the court to see what he can bring.
Let’s get this out of the way first about MCW on offense. He’s not that good. Especially when it comes to shooting the basketball.
There are positives to his game in terms of playmaking. Carter-Williams averaged 5.1 assists last season with the Milwaukee Bucks and has a career average of 6.1 which is a very solid mark. Other than Rajon Rondo and MCW, the Bulls don’t really have a guy who racks up the assists. But just like Rondo, Carter-Williams has his fatal flaws, as further explained by the Athletic’s Stephen Noh:
Carter-Williams can create for his teammates, but his judgment has infuriated fans in Philadelphia and Milwaukee. His career 1.70 assist-to-turnover ratio is very pedestrian — It would rank 40th of the 46 point guards that ESPN has tracked this year. He’s not a great ballhandler and he has a tendency to make some really ugly turnovers on rushed jump-passes
But still, MCW has shown the ability to find this teammates when they are open. Like he did against the Pacers and found Taj Gibson for a clutch basket.
He was inexplicably ran off the three point line, drove into the paint and found Gibson across the lane. That type of playmaking is something Chicago needs when it doesn’t have the likes of Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler on the court.
Although Carter-Williams can create shots for others, the same can’t be said about this own shot.
Michael Carter-Williams may be healthy but his shot is still injured.— Russ Bengtson (@russbengtson) December 27, 2016
He shoots a career average of 41.1% and his three-point shot is even worse at 25.5%. Basically, the Bulls have another guard who won't be guarded near the three-point line, if not the full Rondo treatment. A majority of his shots will come in the paint or around that area. So don’t be expecting MCW to come off a pick and roll and shoot a jumper when the roll man’s defender sags off.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t be effective on offense. If he is able to limit his turnovers, he could be a good offensive player for Chicago. But his biggest impact won’t come on that end of the court.
Out of all the point guards Chicago has on their roster, Carter-Williams is the best defender, his length and effort makes him a strong candidate for that “honor”.
At 6’6, he is bigger than most guards he will match up with. He has a career defensive box plus/minus of 0.7 and it almost makes up for the fact that he is a negative offensive player.
MCW is not afraid to get up into his mans face and his active hands are always a positive. With his length, he is able to get his hands into passing lanes as well as contest jumpers against taller players. His activeness certainly will be able to bother opposing guards into a couple of turnovers a game.
Carter-Williams won’t suddenly make the Bulls an Eastern Conference contender. He’s not that type of player, especially offensively. His shooting is just too poor to make defenses not collapse in the paint when Butler and Wade drive to the hoop. But he is a smart defender with length who will help a struggling Bulls perimeter defense. Just another option for Hoiberg to use late in games for defensive purposes.