Know the Prospect: Jackie Carmichael

USA TODAY Sports

We turn our eyes towards the bruising forward from Illinois State as a possible first round draft target for the Knicks.

Welcome back, my friends. Are you turnt up? I hope so. Today's subject will be the big man from Illinois State: Jackie Carmichael. A 6'9" athletic power forward, Carmichael shone during his senior season for the Redbirds, emerging as a top flight offensive option to accompany his sturdy defense. Let's look at how Carmichael projects as he makes his transition into the pro game.

The Rundown

D.O.B. - 01/02/1990 (23 years old)

Hometown - Manhattan, KS

Measurements: Height (w/o shoes) - 6'7.5"; Height (in shoes) - 6'9"; Weight - 241 lbs; Wingspan - 7'1.5"; Max Vert - 32", Lane Agility - 11.83

Projected Draft Position: 38th to WAS on DraftExpress

Actual Scouting Report and Stats: SB Nation, DraftExpress, Sports-Reference, GoRedbirds

Amateur Take - Offense: Jackie Carmichael is a smooth, polished athlete and uses that to his advantage on offense. He doesn't possess game-changing scoring ability, but contributed in myriad ways during his final season at Illinois State en route to an impressive 17.4 PPG. Carmichael makes a great target for lobs with his good hands and athleticism, and finishes above the rim with gusto. His strong frame helped him finish through contact and his battering style of play showed as he attempted 8.6 free throws per 40 minutes (leads all PFs in DraftExpress' top 100). Even when he was not in a position to catch lobs, Carmichael's core strength made for skill at carving out deep post position, catching the ball, and going straight up for a finish around the rim (where he shot 66.5%). When not directly under the basket, Carmichael will sometimes just jump up to rim level and throw the ball in as a sort of faux-floater. This will be a less viable shot around NBA length, but it showcases his nice combination of soft hands and athleticism.

Carmichael has developed a rudimentary back-to-the-basket game in his time at ISU, culminating in a senior season that saw him shoot 48% out of the post. He has a limited but effective set of moves and counter-moves on the block and sometimes surprises with his patience there. In addition to a jump hook over his right shoulder Carmichael has a baseline spin move if defenders play him too tight, a decent up-and-under game, and has developed a fairly reliable turnaround jumper if defenders sag off him. It's unlikely that he'll be utilized in the post nearly as often in the NBA (over 40% of his offense last season came in post-up situations), but he provides a decent option in team playbooks.

Averaging 3.3 offensive rebounds per 40, Carmichael puts great effort into crashing the offensive glass and scores and draws fouls on put-back attempts. His athleticism and size certainly help, but Carmichael has a good nose for the ball and does a great job keeping the ball alive even if he can't secure it immediately.

This goes unrecorded in the stat sheet, but Carmichael also provides value on offense by setting bone-crushing screens on defenders. He seems to recognize the importance of setting a solid pick, and smaller college guards often folded against his body on screens and it freed his team up for open shots. NBA players are of course bigger and stronger, but Carmichael's toughness in an encouraging trait.

Amateur Take - Defense: Carmichael is an extremely intriguing defensive prospect. Armed with an NBA-ready body and a near 7'2" wingspan, Carmichael should be able to make an impact on the defensive end immediately. He averaged a steal and two blocks per game last season, highlighting his ability to not only play outstanding defense but also make big defensive plays.

Off-ball, Carmichael does an excellent job reading the offense and making timely rotations to stymie the opposition. He does a good job staying in the paint and playing "2.9" defense, similar to defensive stalwart Roy Hibbert. By not over-helping and maintaining the paint Carmichael makes it difficult for teams to find easy looks at the rim.

Carmichael is also a phenomenal post-defender, utilizing his lower body strength to contest without fouling. He does his work early like all great interior presences and forces opposing big men out of prime post position, where most players would be significantly more effective. Carmichael also does a phenomenal job of putting his arms straight up and contesting shots, allowing him to avoid collecting crippling fouls.

He is less stellar of a defender when forced to guard in space after switches or corral a ball-handler coming off a screen. Carmichael just doesn't seem to always know where to go to contain drivers and allows blow-bys and easy looks at the rim. This is an area where he can grow and working closely with NBA defensive coaches should provide some benefit here. Carmichael has the athleticism and length to make more of an impact than he currently does, but needs to gain a better understanding of positioning himself to close off driving lanes and staying in front of the ball.

Defensive rebounding is an important part of team defense, and Carmichael appropriately shines in that regard. His 8.8 DRBs per 40 minutes ranks fifth among DraftExpress' top 100 and he shows great technique and focus in collecting them. While his athleticism allows him to rebound out of his own area, Carmichael displays impressive discipline on the glass and does a great job sealing his boxout assignment before collecting the board. His high motor on the defensive end really fuels him in many situations and is part of the reason he was named to the MVC All-Defensive Team twice.

Knick Knacks:

  • His mother, Janelle Carmichael, played basketball at Bemidji State. Bloodlines!
  • Jackie majored in apparel, merchandising, and design. Seems like he'll fit well on this fashion-forward roster.
  • If selected, Carmichael will be the first player drafted to the NBA out of Illinois State since Rico Hill in 1999, who was drafted 31st overall by the LA Clippers and doesn't have a basketball-reference page.
  • After a controversial flagrant foul call on Carmichael led to a stunning home loss to Wichita State, some people started calling him Jackie Chan Carmichael. I don't think it stuck.

Let's Get Reel:


Jackie Carmichael 2013 NBA Draft Scouting Report Video (via DraftExpress) - Just watch that play starting at 1:54 in the video. Get. Dunked. On.


Carmichael & Threloff Recap Game-Winner vs. Evansville (via GoRedbirdscom) - Without looking I am certain that this is the most epic video ever made about a regular-season game against Evansville.


Jackie Carmichael Draft Combine Interview (via DraftExpress) - How do you listen to this guy in interviews and not root for him?

Strengths:

  • NBA-ready body, can contribute immediately
  • Great length for position
  • Athleticism, plays above the rim
  • Draws fouls at a high rate; shoots nearly 70% from the FT line
  • Potential with midrange jump shot; solid form and range out to 18 feet
  • Physical, tough player
  • Runs the floor in transition
  • Great hands
  • Capable scorer in the post
  • High energy rebounder on both ends, averaged 12.1 rebounds per 40 mins
  • Sets very strong screens
  • Shotblocker, averaged 2.7 blocks per 40 mins
  • Strong, fundamentally sound post defender
  • Great defensive awareness in the paint; makes smart defensive rotations on interior
  • High character; well-spoken; intense competitor on court; great work ethic; high motor

Weaknesses:

  • Inconsistent jump-shooter
  • Poor ball-handler; not a threat to attack slower bigs off the bounce
  • Poor perimeter defender both on- and off-ball
  • Limited upside

Final Thoughts: Jackie Carmichael might be considered a bit of a reach in the first round by some, but there is no question that he is capable of playing in the NBA. He's a low-risk player with the size, rebounding, defensive ability, and work ethic to carve out a long career in the pros.

His fit with the Knicks would largely be affected by the direction the coaching staff wishes to go with the offense. After creating a dynamic offense by spacing the floor with shooters and playing Carmelo Anthony primarily as a power forward, drafting Carmichael might signal a return to a more traditional lineup. In either case, Carmichael would make an excellent reserve big. His burly frame would give the Knicks a reliable defensive option against teams featuring powerful frontcourts, and would help reduce the pounding Carmelo takes on the defensive end. Because of Carmichael's general proficiency in most aspects of big man play, it's easy to see him fitting in on basically any roster.

I know many of you are interested in drafting a big man onto the roster. What do you guys think of considering Jackie Carmichael?

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