Option 4: The wild card
In 10 games with the Brooklyn Nets this season, Shabazz Napier is averaging a career-high 19.9 points per 36 minutes. He’s also averaging 4.9 assists per 36 minutes, the highest rate he’s had since he was an end of the rotation guy with the Orlando Magic in 2015-16.
He’s aggressive and not afraid to let it fly, shooting .397/.444/.769 on the season. He’s also never been a regular starter — in his first four NBA seasons, Napier started just 22 games.
Defensively, he can be something of a liability because of his size — or lack thereof. At 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, even average-sized point guards can push him around pretty easily.
Pairing Napier and D’Angelo Russell in the backcourt isn’t as unnatural as it might sound. Napier thrived last season with the Portland Trail Blazers playing off the ball opposite Damian Lillard.
He could switch places on the defensive end to cover the point guard while Russell takes the usually-bigger 2 guard.
In a very small sample size this season — just seven minutes — Napier and Russell have played to a net plus-6.3 per 100 possessions. That’s not a guarantee they would continue to have that sort of advantage in more minutes, but it is at least an indication it’s not a disaster in waiting.
Napier has been striping it from 3-point range since returning from the hamstring injury he sustained in training camp and would be a solid spacing option.
Out of these four options, however, Carroll probably makes the most sense from the standpoint of adding defense to offset the loss of offensive firepower.
I’m not an NBA coach (I would, however, play one on TV for scale), so we’ll find out Wednesday night what coach Kenny Atkinson’s thinks is the best solution to try first.