DeMarre Carroll: Old junkyard dog learns new tricks
DeMarre Carroll revived his career last season when he reunited with coach Kenny Atkinson, who worked with Carroll as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks while Carroll manned the small forward spot there from 2013-15.
Carroll, entering his 10th NBA season, has primarily played the 3 throughout his career, but with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson still out with the abductor injury, Carroll got the start at the 4 on Wednesday against the New York Knicks.
It was not a rousing success, as Carroll was held scoreless in 20 minutes of action, missing all five of his shots, including an 0-for-4 mark from 3-point range. He had two rebounds and an assist on the night.
The Nets need to stretch the floor to make their pace-and-space system work best. With Caris LeVert emerging as a rising star (LeVert started at Carroll’s small forward spot Wednesday), Carroll may be looking at a transition to a smaller role at a stretch 4.
He shot 37.1 percent from 3-point range last season, so he’s comfortable out there, and Carroll told Brian Lewis of the New York Post that he is far from the only small forward in the NBA confronting this shift.
"“We’ve got a lot of guys, we’ve got a lot of depth. It’s definitely different from last year. But at the end of the day a lot of guys are moving in different positions, it’s a lot of new stuff. I guess that’s what the preseason’s for: Try to get used to it, try to feel each other out. “I think that’ll be the likelihood, me playing the 4, being able to stretch the floor. That’s where the modern NBA’s going. It’s a copycat league. All 3-men are kind of moving to the 4. That’s something I’ve been working on. “Still going to play some 3. But at the end of the day, to last long in this league, most guys are moving down to the 4, so that’s why you’ve got to get used to it.”"
It could leave Carroll in a reduced role, sharing minutes with RHJ at the 4 after averaging 29.9 minutes and starting all 73 games in which he played last season.
Carroll turned 32 in July and he’s been on the fringes of the league, bouncing through four different teams in his first three seasons before landing a regular rotation role with the Utah Jazz late in the 2011-12 season.
Last season, Carroll established new career-highs by averaging 13.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.