John Raoux/Associated Press
Win: Michael Carter-Williams (2-1)
Place: Victor Oladipo (3-1)
Show: Trey Burke (6-1)
Michael Carter-Williams is now a victim of the Philadelphia 76ers.
This is a team with so little talent that it has trouble remaining competitive for very long. You can close your eyes and point to the name of a player on the roster, then justifiably wonder if you'll be identifying a legitimate NBA player or a D-Leaguer when you regain your sight.
The dearth of scoring talent has forced MCW into taking some terrible shots, but that's not all that's plaguing him during the second half of the season. His stroke has completely deserted him as well, leaving him with post-All-Star-break percentages of 38.8 percent from the field, 12.5 percent beyond the arc and 68.1 percent at the line.
That wouldn't normally cut it, but Carter-Williams built up such a massive lead during the first half of the season that he still retains a grip on the crown. It's no longer a stranglehold, but it's a grip nonetheless.
Trey Burke had a shot to narrow the gap between himself and the league's top rookie point guard, but he's also run into a bit of a rookie wall.
During February, his numbers tailed off in the negative direction, as a jumper that was drawing more iron than net had a trickle-down effect on the rest of his game. Defenders started sagging off him, which affected the passing lanes and prevented him from overcoming his lack of height (he's 6'1") on his drives to the rim.
Still, it's clear that he's played well enough to make this what Adi Joseph writes for the Detroit Free Press is a "three-horse rookie of the year race." Sticking with the equine terminology, Tim Hardaway Jr. is a dark-horse candidate for ROY, but he's still well back of Burke and the other two guards.
It's Victor Oladipo who has the best shot at wresting the crown away from MCW, though.
He may have needed two overtime periods to achieve his final line, but the Indiana product still posted 30 points, nine rebounds and 14 assists in a victory over the New York Knicks.
Not only is that an insanely impressive performance, one of the absolute best posted by a first-year player, but it's even more stellar because this was a player hailed as a developing combo guard heading into the season. It also gives him the unique distinction, joining Penny Hardaway, as one of two Orlando Magic rookies to post multiple 20-10 games as a rookie.
"I've still got so much room for improvement, man," Oladipo said after the game, as relayed by FOX Sports' Ken Hornack. "I can get so much better. I really feel like I haven't even scratched the surface of how good I really can be. I honestly believe that."
He's been impressive even while scratching the surface, but he'll have to get even better to take over the Rookie of the Year race.