Season Review: DeMarre Carroll
Lucas Armstrong/Atlanta Hawks
Note: We use stats per 36 minutes instead of stats per game on the graphics. The reason behind that is stats per 36 tell a more complete story of how a player did while he was on the court, as opposed to per game stats which averages a player’s stats based on the number of games that player appeared in, regardless of how many minutes he played. The per 36 minutes compares all players equally by taking the minutes played out of the equation to measure the most effective players during their time on the court.
After spending his first four seasons bouncing between four teams as a role player, DeMarre Carroll found a home with the Hawks as Atlanta’s starting small forward. He set career-highs in nearly every statistical category, and while known for his defensive tenacity, Carroll became a much improved offensive player this season in Atlanta.
In 32.1 minutes per game, Carroll averaged 11.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. On defense, Carroll was the Hawks top perimeter defender, drawing the assignment of the opposing team’s best wing player -- whether they were at the two or the three. Going against the opponent’s best offensive wing night in and night out, Carroll held opponents to 40.9 percent shooting (36.8% three-point) for the season, per Synergy Sports.
His tenacious approach made him one of the league’s better defenders against screening action. Carroll fought through screens -- on and off the ball -- consistently to rank 40th against off-ball screens allowing opponents just 0.8 points per possession, and he 76th in the league against pick-and-roll ball handlers allowing just 0.75 PPP -- again per Synergy Sports. Like many of the Hawks, his defensive numbers take a hit on spot-up attempts, allowing 1.04 PPP, because the Hawks system commits heavily to protecting the paint first, which opens up opportunities for open spot-up shots.
Even still, Carroll had by most any account a very productive and effective season defensively. The Hawks' defense relied on Carroll’s length and strength to disrupt opponents on the perimeter and he took that challenge and succeeded. His 2.6 defensive win shares were second to Paul Millsap’s 4.0 for the Hawks on the season. Carroll’s 101.8 defensive rating (per NBA.com/stats) was the best for any perimeter player and 4th on the team, and his +3.4 net rating was third on the team only to Pero Antic and Al Horford.
On offense, Carroll took huge strides this season to become a more effective and efficient player. A career 42.8 percent shooter (28.4% from three) coming into the season, Carroll shot 47 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from three-point range. His development of a consistent three-point shot was huge for the Hawks’ offense this season, as they were in need for another spacing option on the wing next to Kyle Korver.
Carroll attributed his improved jump-shooting to the work he did this summer and in training camp with assistant coach Quin Snyder.
“This was like the first year, you know I have to give a shoutout to Coach Quin Snyder, because this was the first year a coach really worked with me on my footwork, my shot, and spent time with me. Credit to Coach Quin, cause that shows me that he cares about me as a person and cares about my career. I think I'm headed in the right direction. I feel like I'm a rookie. Finally got to play and did what I did. Think there's a lot of room to get better and improve.”
That work paid great dividends for Carroll as an individual and the Hawks as a whole. Carroll’s ability to be a positive offensive player allowed Coach Bud to play him as many minutes as he did without hampering the Hawks’ offense. Carroll did a great job of taking high-efficiency shots as 70 percent of his offensive possessions came from spot-up shots (32.9%), transition (23.7%), and cuts (13.4%). Because he took such efficient shots and made them consistently, Carroll was a very good offensive player for the Hawks. Carroll finished the season averaging 1.03 PPP, good for 47th in the entire NBA, per Synergy Sports. Carroll not only accepted but thrived in his role off the ball in the Hawks’ offense by spacing the floor and making timely cuts in the halfcourt offense and he created a lot of transition opportunities with his defensive play.
He hopes to continue his growth as an offensive player this offseason and become an even better shooting threat as a shooter and ball-handler.
“I wanna get my shot automatic. Like Kyle Korver. I want people to be like, 'that's the African-American Kyle Korver.' That's what I want people to know. Then I want to work on my ball-handling, get my ball-handling better. Pick-and-roll, you know, pick-and-roll's going to be big for me. There aren't a lot of small forwards that do pick-and-rolls besides LeBron James and Paul George so I want to step outside myself and work on it.”
Carroll was one of the Hawks best and most consistent players this season, bringing great intensity and production at both ends of the floor to do the little things, and showed why he’s known as the Junkyard Dog.
Story by Robby Kalland