Philadelphia 76ers

Michael Carter-Williams Has Interesting Plan to Learn Name of Every NBA Referee

SAN ANTONIO, TX - March 24: Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers handles the ball against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center on March 24, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 30, 2014

Philadelphia 76ers rookie Michael Carter-Williams hasn't become familiar with winning in his first year in the league, but he's done plenty to acquaint himself with the NBA's officials.

Per Brett Pollakof of ProBasketballTalk.com, the Sixers coaching staff asked MCW to keep a poster with the name and face of each referee in his locker. Carter-Williams said:

I’m a rookie, they felt as a point guard I should have that bond with the refs. You see guys like Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook who have relationships with the refs, and you know, they’re veterans now. They probably know every ref by their first name.

There's nothing wrong with emulating the league's top-tier point guards, especially for a guy like MCW, who has a chance to someday join their ranks. It's unclear whether Carter-Williams has every official's name and face committed to memory just yet, but we know he's been relatively successful at staying on good terms with most of them.

He has just two technical fouls on the season.

The Sixers clearly view MCW as a franchise cornerstone, a guy who'll be the face of a successful organization...someday.

Philly snapped a 26-game losing streak by beating the Detroit Pistons March 29, a feat that saved the team from setting the record for the most consecutive losses in the history of major American sports.

Matt Slocum

It's probably not all that fun for MCW to sit and memorize referees, but that's just another part of the long, painful rebuilding process in Philadelphia. Right now, it's all about laying a foundation. And even if it doesn't seem so, making sure the franchise's best player can communicate with officials is an important part of that effort.

It's been a rough year for the Sixers, but things are looking up, per CBS' Ken Berger:

What do they have to show for it? A thrilling rookie point guard in Michael Carter-Williams; the sixth pick in the 2013 draft, Nerlens Noel, who hasn't played a minute all season; the potential for two premium picks in this June's draft; some potentially salvageable youngsters who've proven their mettle by continuing to work through the misery of what is now a 16-win season; a GM who was taught how to GM by Daryl Morey; and a coach who was taught how to coach by Gregg Popovich.

Remember, too, that the Eastern Conference is historically weak right now. With all those assets and the right pieces in place, it might not be long before the 76ers are playing in games that actually matter.

Maybe MCW had better double up on his study time.

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