Asked whether he would be surprised if the ballots came back naming someone other than himself Rookie of the Year, Carter-Williams was predictably not indifferent.
"Um, I’m not sure," he said, per The Intelligencer's Tom Moore. "I’d love to be Rookie of the Year. If I’m not, I’d be a little disappointed. That’s just me being competitive."
How dare him, right? The Sixers still have a meaningless game to play and tankers-delight season to finish. Here he is talking about individual accolades.
How dare him.
Seriously, though, it's fine. Good for Carter-Williams. He should be focusing on Rookie of the Year. Anything to distract him and the Sixers from a deliberately miserable season is encouraged.
Plus, he's going to win anyway.
Carter-Williams was voted Rookie of the Year by Bleacher Report's NBA scribes, including myself. And while our results aren't the letter of the law, they kind of are.
Although Carter-Williams cooled off after a blazing-hot start, most rookies cannot even touch his performance. Those who can—Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke—still don't match up with what he was able to do.
The blatant stat-chasing is what makes most skeptical. Carter-Williams was clearly playing for this award, posting impressive numbers on inefficient shooting, prompting Grantland's Zach Lowe to roll with Dipo over him for Rookie of the Year:
What a crap fest. The “race” puts guys posting inefficient numbers in big roles on awful teams against players posting decent numbers in smaller roles on better teams. And some of the latter group barely played until the last quarter of the season, making it hard to consider them. Sorry, Gorgui Dieng!
Carter-Williams has better counting stats than Oladipo, but the gap is small, and mostly due to Carter-Williams logging a few more minutes and Philly piling up six more possessions per game than Orlando. One of them plays for a team so terrible, I’m not really sure any statistic in either direction matters.
Spoiler: That last line was about Carter-Williams.
Related: His stats do matter.
Obvious number-ballooning may be frowned upon, but it worked. Carter-Williams is averaging 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
Only one other rookie in league history has posted at least 16 points, six rebounds, six assists and 1.5 steals per game for an entire season. His name was Magic Johnson.
Magic "Freaking five-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer" Johnson.
Never mind Carter-Williams shooting 40.6 percent from the field. We just mentioned his name in the same breath as Magic Johnson. That counts for something.
In this case, it amounts to Rookie of the Year honors, which Carter-Williams should most definitely receive, because he's most definitely deserving.
*Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.