The Philadelphia 76ers are in the midst of a rebuilding phase, but a rookie seems to have caught the eye of the NBA. Michael Carter-Williams was drafted by the 76ers with the 11th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft out of Syracuse University.
Sixers fans did not know much about Carter-Williams other than his 6'6" frame and ability to spread the wealth on the court. Carter-Williams has exceeded the expectations of many.
In fact, he is slowly becoming the face of 76ers franchise and has been the team's MVP halfway through the season.
What makes the 22-year-old guard special? Why wouldn't players like Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes or Thaddeus Young be considered the team's MVP? All three of those players could be deserving, but there are a few qualities and statistics that help separate MCW from the pack.
Let's take the most obvious answer: He can score.
Carter-Williams is third on the team in scoring with 17.3 points per game, only behind Turner (17.9 PPG) and Young (17.4 PPG). The numbers aren't far from being the team leader. His point total also leads all rookies by a good margin.
The next step is to continue to develop his shooting because defenders are still able to go under screens and force him to shoot from the perimeter.
|NBA Rookie Leaders|
|Michael Carter-Williams (PHI)||37||17.3||6.6||5.4|
|Victor Oladipo (ORL)||50||13.7||5.6||4.4|
|Trey Burke (UTA)||36||12.7||4.0||3.2|
The young guard is also among the league leaders in steals per game. Carter-Williams' long frame gives him an advantage against smaller guards. He is able to shuffle into a good defensive position, causing turnovers. His 2.3 steals per game lead the 76ers and are third among NBA guards, only behind Ricky Rubio (2.6 SPG) and Chris Paul (2.4 SPG).
Turner averages one steal per game, while Young averages two. They have completely different roles, however, but it's always good to make a few comparisons.
Before the season, Philly.com compared Carter-Williams to Magic Johnson because of physical stature. If you actually consider it, though, the comparison isn't as crazy from a statistical standpoint as it seems.
Johnson wasn't afraid to voice his opinion about the rising star early in the season either.
Carter-Williams averages 5.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game to go along with his double-digit scoring. He is a double-double threat every game he plays, sometimes even a triple-double threat.
In fact, Carter-Williams flirted with a quadruple-double in his NBA debut against the Miami Heat on opening night. He has 10 double-doubles and one triple-double on the season, which are both tied for fifth among NBA guards.
The only player on the 76ers to have more double-doubles than MCW is Hawes, who has 16 in 47 games played. Turner has nine and Young has eight, but Carter-Williams has produced more in less time. Advantage, MCW.
The last special part of Carter-Williams' game is that he is aggressive and determined every time he steps on the court. He isn't afraid of anyone.
Over the course of the season, Carter-Williams has played at an elite level against teams like the Heat, Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers. He has matched or bettered performances by players like Kyrie Irving.
Carter-Williams attacks the basket, is strong off the pick-and-roll and breaks down his opponent defensively. What more could a team ask for from a rookie?
Carter-Williams is going to be a household name in Philadelphia for many years. He is exactly what the organization was looking for during its rebuilding phase. Carter-Williams is the 76ers' MVP thus far through the NBA season.