Rookie of the year candidates square off in Philadelphia

It is has been a very difficult year for both the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers.  Neither team has much to be happy about as they have a combined win total of only 32 games this season.

Both of the teams struggle on defense and also have difficulties when it comes to scoring the ball.  These are two of the biggest reasons why they are at the bottom of the pack in the Eastern Conference.

Despite all of the poor basketball they have exhibited so far, it is not completely bad for both teams.  Orlando and Philadelphia have two of the top rookies on the year who are duking it out for the Rookie of the Year Award.

Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo are two of the most valued rookies in the NBA this season as their play has exceeded their overall expectations.  Even though their respective teams are two of the worst, these two are certainly not the reason as to why their teams are struggling.

Tonight, the Magic will head to the Wells Fargo Center to take on Carter-Williams and the Sixers.  The game itself does not mean much, but the battle between the two will have many people interested.

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This will be the third time this season that the two teams will face each other.  The home team has won each of these meetings as the two rookies were big contributors to those victories.

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The last game between the Magic and Sixers that was played in Philadelphia was perhaps one of the most memorable games for both teams.  The Sixers ended up winning the game by the score of 126-125 in double overtime.

On this night, Aaron Afflalo of the Magic scored a career high 43 points and Glen Davis put up 33.  Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner of the Sixers also had great games as Young had 25 and Turner had 24.

However, the excellent play of these four was overshadowed by the great efforts that were turned in from Carter-Williams and Oladipo.

History was made on this evening as they became the first rookies ever to record triple-doubles in the same game.  Oladipo finished the game with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, while Carter-Williams had 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.

This was truly a great game and the talent that was demonstrated by these two rookies was remarkable.  Unfortunately for both teams, the great play could not spark any type of winning streak, but each of these two continued to emerge in their rookie campaigns.

For tonight’s game, don’t expect each of them to have triple-doubles, but the overall numbers should be quite similar.  With the teams reeling, most of the workload will have to come from both Carter-Williams and Oladipo.

They have both proven that they are up to the challenge and are not distracted by being a part of losing basketball.  It appears they are learning well on the fly and each of them continues to improve as the season moves forward.

[Dark days in south Philly]

Carter-Williams has thrived offensively in the Sixers lineup as he has scored a combined 45 points in the past two games.  Oladipo has flourished as well as he scored 26 points last night and 30 against the New York Knicks last Friday in a double overtime win.


The rookie of the year award would be a nice accomplishment for them both.  Even though they are battling to be the winner, they have developed a close friendship during the season.

On All-Star weekend, they displayed their talent in front of a national audience in the Rising Stars Challenge.  They were also teammates in the skills competition where they nearly defeated Trey Burke and Damian Lillard.

If anyone had doubts about the talent each of these rookies has, they more than likely have disappeared.  Trey Burke is also right along with them as he too is in the discussion for rookie of the year.

Carter-Williams and Oladipo, along with Burke, have had great rookie seasons so far.  It will be a close battle to the end, and will be interesting to see who receives the award.

Although the game tonight between the Magic and Sixers has no playoff implications, it definitely means something for Carter-Williams and Oladipo.  Expect another classic performance from these two as both will show off why they feel they are deserving of the Rookie of the Year Award.

Read more about Sixers news and opinions on our Philadelphia 76ers page