Despite the poor play from the Philadelphia 76ers this season, the emergence of rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams has been nothing short of extraordinary. After being picked 11th in the first round of last summer’s draft, MCW has opened the eyes of the entire basketball world.
Yesterday, Carter-Williams was named rookie of the month for January in the Eastern Conference. Trey Burke from the Utah Jazz who also has been impressive to this point, received the honors for the Western Conference.
For Carter-Williams, this is the second time this season that he was chosen for the award. This makes him only the second player in 76ers franchise history to be named rookie of the month twice in one season.
The only other 76er player to achieve these honors was one of the greatest 76ers ever; Allen Iverson. During Iverson’s rookie year, he averaged 23.5 points, 7.5 assists, and over 2 steals per game.
Carter-Williams’ numbers are not nearly as good as Iverson’s, nor should they be. Despite the early difference in talent between the two, there is one thing to keep in mind.
When Iverson was here in Philadelphia, he was the team’s franchise player for over 10 seasons. Based off of Carter-Williams’ success early on in his rookie campaign, he appears to be on track to become the new franchise player for years to come.
There is another similar situation brewing in Orlando, with fellow guard Victor Oladipo. Oladipo and Carter-Williams have been the top two rookies thus far in the Easter Conference, and appear as if they will be a part of their current teams for years to come.
Carter-Williams won the award back in November, while it was given to Oladipo for the month of December. Despite their great play early on, the edge right now has to go to Carter-Williams.
For the month of January, MCW averaged 16.5 points, 5.6 assists, 5.6 rebounds, along with 1.5 steals per game. Oladipo’s numbers were right up there, but Carter-Williams’ were a tad bit better giving him the award.
With the top three rookies in the NBA this season (Carter-Williams, Oladipo, Burke), it will be a close race to the end on who will finish the season with the Rookie of the Year Award.
If these players can continue to progress and perform well throughout their careers, NBA fans should be very excited. As for 76er fans, this is just the beginning for Carter-Williams.
A little more than halfway through the season, the value that he brings to the team is vital. The 76ers record has been terrible this season, but they do considerably better when Carter-Williams is in the lineup.
The primary reason of this is his ability to change the game through his acquired skill package. He has shown that he can score the ball, but also can pass, rebound, and even create turnovers.
He has proven he can run the team and has the ability to get the rest of the team involved in the game. When he is not playing, the 76ers do not have that court leader on the floor, which typically shows in the result of the game.
Carter-Williams does indeed have areas of his game he needs to improve on. He does turn the ball over quite often, but as time moves forward, this is something that more than likely will be fixed.
The 76ers did not really know what to expect when they drafted him this past summer, but one person in particular that he has impressed is coach Brett Brown.
Early on, Brown was a little skeptical about Carter-Williams being a point guard in the NBA. After having him for over three months now, he has seen how his game is much more versatile than originally expected.
Overall, Carter-Williams has definitely exceeded expectations from his coach, as well as the rest of the 76ers organization. Now that the team appears to have a nucleus that they can build around, the future appears to be much brighter.
A few more months remain in the NBA season. Over this time, look for Carter-Williams to stay on top of his game and to prove to the league why he will win the Rookie of the Year Award.