Draft Comparison: Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin, and Dennis Schroeder Part 2

June 25th, 2013 | by Clint Johnson

Yesterday, we released Part 1 of Clint Johnson’s PG prospect breakdown, covering the shooting and finishing games of Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin, and Dennis Schroeder. Today, Part 2 focuses on their athleticism, size, and passing ability.

Speed and Quickness

Michael Carter-Williams: 3.22 sprint; 10.68 lane agility. MCW is faster than he looks, particularly in the open court.  His long strides remind me a little of Scottie Pippen, who always looked languid even when you knew he was really moving on the court.  MCW is also quite quick, both of foot and hand, which is emphasized by his size and length.  The combination of stature, speed, and quickness is really quite impressive.

Shane Larkin: 3.08 sprint; 10.64 lane agility.  Larkin is FAST, and he plays that way.  His game reminds me a lot of Ty Lawson in that he goes from still to really moving very quickly, and he likes to do so in straight lines.  Unlike a Tony Parker, who curves and winds his way through a defense, Larkin is like a knife—he makes straight, sharp, direct slashes whenever possible.  He’s so fast, in fact, that I’m a little concerned he doesn’t accent that with more feints or defensive manipulation with the dribble.  Against most college defenders, he was simply so much faster he could stare his defender in the eye; then, in a blink, drive past him.  The extreme speed perhaps limits Larkin’s quickness somewhat, because, even though his game always looked like it was put in slight fast forward, there was less sudden change and surprising shiftiness to his game than I expected.  Maybe you don’t have to make a move if, once into it, you’re so fast no one can match you.  That will be less the case in the NBA, certainly, but Larkin has world class basketball speed at any level.

Dennis Schroeder: 3.21 sprint; 11.09 lane agility.  Schroeder may have less raw speed than the other two, but he looks the quickest to me; what’s more, he is one of the rare players who looks faster and more agile with the ball than without it.  With the ball in his hands, he looks like he’s on ice skates.  He moves smoothly, dribbling lower when there’s more traffic around him, and can go any direction at any time with the ball.  He accents his natural quickness with a lot of subtle body motion, feints and jabs and leans and dips, which gives his game real suddenness and unpredictability.  Defensively, he doesn’t appear to dart about as much as the others, lending less a sense of raw speed, but this appears to me partially due to his greater awareness and anticipation of a play’s development.  Schroeder isn’t the fastest of the three, but he strikes me as the player most able to rapidly go anywhere at any moment in a game.


Carter-Williams: 6’5.75” in shoes, 6’7.25” wingspan, 184 lbs.  Williams’s most intriguing trait is his height, which is common knowledge.  But what struck me repeatedly when he played was how light he seemed, much weaker than 184 lbs.  His height does change the game given his ability to see, pass, and shoot over defenses where other guards might struggle, but the physicality he brings to the court is that of a much smaller player.  Unless he becomes stronger, he will play shorter than he is at the next level.

Larkin: 5’11.5” in shoes, 5’10.75” wingspan, 171 lbs.  Ouch.  There really isn’t another way to say it: Larkin is short, stubby, and slight.  He’s a gamer who isn’t afraid of a challenge, but there is no getting around his physical liabilities.  Sometimes in college, he looked like a younger child playing with the big boys, who would back him down or box him out or block his shots, making him look helpless in the process.  That is likely to be a daily occurrence in the NBA.

Schroeder: 6’2” in shoes, 6’7.25” wingspan, 168 lbs.  The youngest (only 19) and lightest of the players, Schroeder’s game is clearly the most physical.  He bodies up as a defender and wedges himself into the defense with his dribble.  Though of average height for a point guard, his extremely long arms give him substantial physical advantage for his position.  The European competition against which he’s played probably exaggerates the physicality of his game, as many of his competitors were certainly finesse-oriented, and that must be taken into account.  But physically, Schroeder projects as average or slightly better in stature for his position with superior length.


Carter-Williams: 7.3 asts.  While I won’t go as far as others in declaring MCW the best playmaker in the draft, I see the skills that make people say this.  Carter-Williams has excellent court vision in both the full and half court.  He is particularly good at kicking out to shooters after driving to the hoop.  From the perimeter, he has uncommonly accurate skip passes and uncanny vision and anticipation for lobs and alley-oops.  He is also excellent at advancing the ball up court in the fast break using the pass to teammates who have leaked out and bypassed the defense.  His height also gives him the ability to see and pass over a defense, an advantage he sometimes accents by jumping to pass, though this sometimes gets him in trouble.  His ability to consistently make simple, functional passes and feed the post are somewhat questionable, partially due to the offense he ran at Syracuse, but overall, he is a very good passer.

Larkin: 4.6 asts.  A very good passer out of the pick and roll, he predominantly passes in one of two ways: either penetrating to the hoop and dumping off near the end or, when he’s doubled off the pick, he stretches the defenders from the hoop and hits the big rolling to the hoop in the space he’s created.  He is skilled at hitting jump shooters from similar areas of the floor, either deep in the paint off a drive or early off a pick and roll while drawing defenders.  He is much less apt to pass from the middle of a dribble drive, so once moving he is most likely to reach the deep paint before considering a pass.  Also, his predisposition to shoot sometimes results in long, quick jumpers where a pass would have been the wiser course.  He is a good and willing passer in the pick and roll at certain times, but this is a secondary option for a player who is, essentially, a gunner.

Schroeder: 3.3 asts.  An extremely eager passer (assist numbers are typically lower in Europe than the NBA), Schroeder clearly gets more excitement from feeding a finisher than scoring on his own.  He is a fantastic passer out of the pick and roll, capable of making the pass at any point from any location on the floor.  He feeds the ball in many ways, including snapping passes long distances off the dribble one-handed (a la John Stockton).  He is exceptional when it comes to setting up his passes through body positioning and use of his dribble, manipulating defenders to open up teammates and passing lanes.  He does sometimes telegraph passes, particularly in set plays, taking the simple pass for granted.  But overall, I find him the best passer in this strong group.

That concludes Part 2. Tomorrow, Clint’s Part 3 will break down these PGs ball handling and defensive skills, and get to an overall conclusion about where the prospects rank. Tune in then!

Clint Johnson

Clint Johnson

Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. He teaches writing at Salt Lake Community College. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.

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  1. David J Smith says:

    Great work with these comparisons, Clint. Well done!

  2. Laura Thompson says:

    Great stuff! Sometimes the commentary leading up to the draft is as much fun as the draft itself–props!

  3. Kent johnson says:

    Jimmer Ferdette being available for a first round pick puts a little wrinkle on this topic I believe. I am going to make a case for Jimmer: pro 40.2 %fg / 38.4% 3/ 85% ft.
    College 18.7ppg/ 45.4%fg/ 39.6% 3/ 88%ft 3.7apg
    6’2″ 195lbs 6’4.5″ wingspan

    He only got 17 min a game and got the above stats as a pro and was prolific in college. If you take your personal off the court opinion of him off the table and compare him like the other players then he looks good, who out of the players we are talking about has Ferdettes package of weight, height, shooting and passing ability and his defense is competitive with some of the players we are talking about.
    Coming out of college Ferdette has superior stats than the other players and if you want to just use his pro stats they are still competitive to what we are seeing from the players we are talking about.

    • Clint Johnson says:

      In a vacuum, I agree. Fredette will likely be better than the majority of 21st picks, plus he’s more a known quantity so you know he can contribute off the bench immediately. But for the Jazz, it would be like signing Tim Tebow. The fans would be split on him from day one, with half loving him more than any player on the team and half hating him on principle. The pressure on Fredette to become better than he really is would be incredible, and it would risk resentment in the locker room that a role player was always such a focus of media attention. So I don’t want him if I’m the Jazz because we’re a uniquely challenging location for him, but most other teams could use such a shooter in 15 to 20 minutes a night off the bench. To shoot the percentages he did in his limited role last season impressed me. If he was even an average defender I’d snap him up, but he isn’t.

      I actually think a more interesting move for the Jazz would be to consider pick 14 for Thomas Robinson if there is no player they love waiting at 14. I’m surprised so many people have given up on a 22 year old rookie who had a disappointing season while playing on arguably the most dysfunctional NBA team of the last twenty years before being traded. That would mess with almost anyone, especially someone so young. I fully expect Robinson to be better in the future. I think Robinson’s floor is a young Paul Millsap. With so many Jazz fans wishing Millsap would stay on as sixth man and play with his old vigor and selflessness, I’m surprised more haven’t clamored for Robinson, because that’s largely what he is to me. He’d be a fine first big off the bench, plus he’s affordable and has upside.

  4. Kent johnson says:

    Talking about just the players Clint is featuring I liken this draft to the options on a roulette table; they all can pay dividends but also have attached high amounts of risk involved.
    I believe schroeder has highest possible dividends but has second highest risk, MCW is supper high reward (if he can ever learn to shoot) but also has the highest risk (he may never get a shot which means he is not playable) Larkin is safe (if you are not making him a pg) he seems to me a randy foy like player so if he can’t play pg full time he could be used as sg off the bench. Personally I’d rather give Burks time then play Larkin, history is against MCW(too slim, can’t shoot history not good to pg his size when talking about success) I’d take Schoeder he is younger, jazz culture would be good for him and we are historically good to pg and giving em tdevelopime to develop

  5. Pingback: Draft Comparison: Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin, and Dennis Schroeder Part 1 | Salt City Hoops

  6. GPlayle says:

    Where did you get the sprint/lane agility info on Dennis Schroeder? I can’t find sprint/lane agility for DS anywhere BUT on SCH. Its not from DX or Combine (because he didn’t do the drills at the Combine), and it’s not from Nike Hoops Summit, because that info would come up on DX. Also, you didn’t get it from NBAdraft, looked there too. Unless you got some sheet with this info that hardly no one else has seen and doesn’t come up online through searches…

    • Clint Johnson says:

      Actually, DraftExpress does have information for Schroeder, though all of it isn’t listed in his profile. If you go to their Measurement History and limit the search to only 2013 (to make searching easier), you’ll see all the data. I’m not sure where those measurements were taken, but DraftExpress lists it so it must be worthy of consideration.

      While you do it, check out his hands. They’re almost as big as Alex Len’s.

      • GPlayle says:

        Ok…I’ll check that out. I’ll concede if it’s there, although I did think that information was probably way outdated. Watched videos on him, and he looks almost as fast as Larkin, but like you said Larkin goes one way, one direction and Schroeder moves around like Parker. Read an article that NBA analyst said he is like a combo of Parker and Rondo…

        And I know about his hand size 9 by 11… Here is a link if you haven’t seen this.


  7. GPlayle says:

    Ok, clicked on the Predraft Measurements and they had some quantities for him, but I did noticed that there were 2 sections for him in which the numbers are inconsistent. We know he is 6’1 and has almost a 6’8 wingspan, and according to the link I sent you, those are his physical measurements…I don’t like that list though because of how inconsistent it is, and some info is most likely outdated.

    • Clint Johnson says:

      Thanks for the link. You’re right that the numbers are more suspect than what came from the combine, but they’re better than nothing, I feel.

      I agree with your observation about how fast Schroeder looks. Wherever those DraftExpress measurements were taken, I just don’t feel they quite do justice to how Schroeder looks in game. His measurables are all very close to the positional averages DE has for point guards, other than being a little taller and a lot longer. But I think they undersell his game. And while there isn’t a lot of film on him, the Nike Summit showed him against freakish young athletes like Andrew Harrison, and against that competition he impressed with his speed and skill.

  8. Kent johnson says:

    I agree about Robinson

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