Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams was the runaway winner of the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award, per NBA.com, earning 104 first-place votes out of a possible 124. Winning ROY honors is certainly a career milestone to be cherished, but MCW said he’d rather be competing in the postseason.
Here’s what the former Syracuse star had to say during his press conference, per Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times:
#Sixers MCW: 'I never blame anyone else but myself ... This award is great, but I'd definitely trade this award to be in the playoffs.'— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) May 5, 2014
#Sixers MCW: 'I always played like I wasn't the rookie of the year. My mindset was always that somebody was ahead of me.'— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) May 5, 2014
#Sixers MCW: 'I'm willing to do whatever the team wants me to do to win the game.'— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) May 5, 2014
While the Sixers only managed to win 19 games during the course of the regular season, MCW led the way by averaging 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game. Those averages put the youngster in elite company, as Basketball Insiders’ Tommy Beer pointed out via Twitter:
Michael Carter-Williams also joined Magic Johnson & Oscar Robertson as the only rookies to ever avg at least 16 pts, 6 rebs & 6 assists.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) May 5, 2014
By posting those 16-6-6 numbers, the 22-year-old joined two Hall of Famers—no easy feat.
Carter-Williams also took time to praise first-year head coach Brett Brown, relayed by Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer:
.@MCW1 on coach Brett Brown "He's been unbelievable to me. I'm not a person that trusts a lot of people. I have a lot of trust in coach."— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) May 5, 2014
The coach reciprocated those words by saying the following, per Moore:
#Sixers Brown on MCW: 'He has far exceeded, in toughness, leadership, intellect (and other areas), what I expected.'— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) May 5, 2014
Brown experienced a tumultuous season in Philly. When the Sixers' 26-game losing streak hit 14, the coach admitted he wondered “all the time” whether his team would win another game before season’s end, per The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Marc Narducci.
At the end of March, the ever-candid Brown said, “No free agent is going to want to come to Philadelphia at this stage," per Pompey.
A playoff berth is still a few years away for the 76ers' young roster. While MCW did acknowledge that outlook, he also said he wants to bring something new to the table every season—like all-time greats did before him:
#Sixers MCW: 'I want to bring something new each year, like the great ones did.'— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) May 5, 2014
Sixers owner Josh Harris said the following of the 6'6" floor general, per the team's official Twitter account:
"His dedication, professionalism, & contributions to the Philadelphia community make him all the more deserving." Owner Josh Harris on MCW— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) May 5, 2014
It's hard to believe that Carter-Williams wasn't even selected until the No. 11 pick of the 2013 draft.
Guys like Otto Porter, Cody Zeller, Alex Len and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all came off the board before MCW. None of those aforementioned lottery picks received a single vote for Rookie of the Year (whether for first, second or third place).
Carter-Williams' impact for Philadelphia did have its fair share of ups and downs. While he did join Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only other rookies to average 16-6-6 during their rookie seasons, he also posted 3.5 turnovers per game and shot just 26.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Still, there's plenty to love about his game already. He's poised to become the new face of Philly's franchise. If the Sixers can land another difference-maker in the 2014 draft, their rebuilding process will be that much easier.