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Carrick Felix: Another Sun Devil Success Story?

A 6’6" athletic guard-forward with a game reminiscent of resident heartthrob Chandler Parsons, Felix is an excellent off ball player that thrives in transition, cuts, and open space on the perimeter. Carrick’s offensive talents fits well with the Rockets’ wide open offense. He cannot do much if you put the ball in his hands, but he certainly remains very relevant even if he does not touch the ball. The ability to contribute without the ball is a very underrated aspect of young players, but crucial in getting playing time in the NBA. While he lacks the creativity and handles that made Chandler Parsons an intriguing prospect, he makes up for his deficiencies by being very smart and direct.

Carrick rarely takes off-balanced shots, always takes 3 point shots with his body squared and feet set, using his long arms well with a high release point and quick release. When he does not shoot the 3 ball, Felix often seeks to get to the rim on cuts and straight line drives. He plays with a lot of energy and power. An above average leaper with a 38 inch vertical and explosively quick take off, Felix explodes off the ground quickly and looks to finish every time at the rim. His leaping ability and desire to rock the rim combine with his knack for finding holes in defense and penchant to run past everyone on the transition makes him a walking highlight waiting to happen.

With ASU’s 2 top scorers from previous season gone via transfer, the 22 year old senior took a significant leap in statistical contribution, ended the year averaging 14.6 points and 8 rebounds on 50% FG% and 37% from the 3 point arc. He was 2nd on the team in scoring, led the team in offensive efficiency at 1.12 points per possession, led the conference in eFG% in 56.9, 2nd in the conference in TS% despite only shooting 66% from the free throw line. He is also a very impressive rebounder, collecting 18% of available defensive rebound when he’s on the floor. Felix led his teams in steals and rebounds, 2nd in blocks. He also led the conference with 13 double doubles, a tremendous feat for a swingman.

Part of Pac-12 All-defensive team 2013, Carrick Felix is a stout defender with NBA level physical tools. Measured with a 6’9.25" wingspan, posted 11.16 second in lane agility and 3.25 seconds in ¾ court sprints, Felix possesses the length of a small forward, lateral quickness of a shooting guard, and foot speed of a point guard. Not saying he has great numbers of those positions, but the combination makes him multi-positional defender candidate. He is also 202 lbs of pure muscle, measured in with a combine low 3.3% body fat, 2nd only to Victor Oladipo on the bench press among wing players.

From both strength and agility standpoint, Felix possesses all the tools to be an NBA caliber defender. Playing in a major conference, Felix actually faced diverse NBA caliber scorers, from Allan Crabbe of Cal, Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA to Arizona's Solomon Hill, Washington's C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs. Not always a shut down defender, Felix managed to at least force inefficiency on many encounters. He knows how to use his tools well as an individual defender, using his superior length to create steals and block shots and his strength to keep players on the perimeter and off balance.

He is not without his flaws. Felix is not much of a passer. Only 1.6 assists despite playing 30+ minutes in his final season and shooting 10+ shots a game. The lack of vision has something to do with Felix being mostly a finisher on plays and primarily playing off the ball, but being one of the higher usage guys on the team, he should really have more. Age is a slight concern since he will be 23 when he enter the league, and he only really had one good statistical season because the team lost its top two players to transfer. Legitimate to question whether or not he can sustain the production without the minutes in the NBA. He cannot create his own shots, and really relies on power to finish plays. Can he continue his success against stronger and more athletic players in the NBA? His defensive tool is good but not great, so he cannot rely on recovering from mistakes as much as he did in college.

The best thing that makes Carrick Felix immediately likable? He is the definition of a hard worker, not just in basketball, but in life. As a 2 star recruit out of high school with problematic academics, Felix received no scholarship offers out of high school. Felix went to junior college for 2 years to improve his transcript and work on his game. Felix’s hard work got him noticed from coach K and division I schools, and eventually a scholarship at Arizona State, where he not only earned a bachelor’s degree, but also a master’s degree. He was named Pac-12 scholar-athlete of the year, and graduated with a 3.5 GPA.

On the court, he is energy defined. Constantly on the prowl for offensive rebounds, steals, blocks and loose balls, Felix fights for every single extra possession out on the court. He chases players down in transition. He secure rebounds over taller players at a really high rate. ASU assistant coach Eric Mussleman had this to say about Carrick Felix, "He's a next-level loose-ball getter. He'll get a loose ball as well as anyone in the nation. That sounds crazy, but Carrick is an extra possession getter, whether it's tracking down a 50-50 ball, getting an offensive rebound, whatever. He thinks the ball belongs to him."

I'm not going to lie, drafting Carrick Felix out at 34 might be a bit of a reach. There may not be a lot of upside to drafting Carrick Felix, but I see very little downside in drafting a high-energy, athletic multi-positional defender that dunks hard at the rim and makes open 3s.

See with your own eyes:

Arizona State@Baylor, NIT 2nd round 2013, ESPN3 archives

CARRICK FELIX 2013 DUNK CONTEST (via Louis Vertone)

PROs: NONSTOP MOTOR, does dirty works, DUNKS REALLY HARD, decent shooter from 3 point range, does not need the ball to be relevant, DEFENDS.

CONs: No mid-range game, cannot create shots, ONLY 1 YEAR of good production at the college level.