THIS JUST IN: 76ers PG Michael Carter-Williams will be named NBA Rookie of the Year. (via @njdotcom) pic.twitter.com/UbXUjT6kdQ
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 3, 2014
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. There was no rookie in the NBA that was even close to Michael Carter-Williams, who has officially been announced as the 2014 NBA Rookie of the Year. He got 104/124 first place votes, which seems about right to me. I’m sure Victor Oladipo got a few as well, but there’s no doubt that Carter-Williams was the best rookie in the league this year.
#Sixers' Michael Carter-Williams and coach Brett Brown, beside the Rookie of the Year trophy pic.twitter.com/Fh195lNMW7
— Christopher A. Vito (@ChrisVito) May 5, 2014
Despite a few injuries here and there, he played a majority of the season with 70 games, starting each one of them and averaging 34.5 MPG. He finished the season averaging 16.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 6.3 APG. He also averaged 1.86 steals/game and 0.61 blocks/game. He did turn the ball over more than any other Sixer at 3.5 a game, but finished with one of the highest PERs on the team with 15.6. He has the potential to get a double double on any night (either points and rebounds or points and assists), finishing the season with 17 of them. He even had 2 triple doubles. To put it into perspective, these are higher numbers in every single category than Oladipo, even down to the blocks and PER.
NBA VIDEO: Michael Carter-Williams’ Rookie Season Highlights http://t.co/yMBr2zujGK
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 5, 2014
Carter-Williams took over a team that was doomed to fail and became the team’s leader at just 22 years old. That’s impressive in of itself. Sure, the Sixers still finished 29th in the NBA standings, but the experience that Carter-Williams gained from starting almost the whole season is going to be great for his development. Very few rookies get to come in and immediately get this kind of freedom and leadership responsibility, but I believe that he excelled.
It all started with the first game of the season where he flirted with a quadruple double, putting up 22 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists, and 9 steals against the defending champions, the Miami Heat. If that performance alone doesn’t show people who deserves Rookie of the Year, I don’t know what does. He’s the first Sixer to win the Rookie of the Year award since Allen Iverson did it almost 20 years ago.
His regular season may have started out well, but there was no guarantee that he was even going to be starter-quality. His performance in the summer league suggested that he was a poor shooter and turned the ball over like it was his job. In five games, he averaged 13.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 6.8 APG. He even got 2 steals/game. Those are pretty good stats, though, right? Well, he shot an atrocious 27.1% from the field and 15.8% from beyond the arc. He also turned it over 4.8 times per game…and this is all with a bunch of rookies and second year players, not even teams’ real rosters. His best shooting day was 8/23 from the field, and that’s only 34.7%. He also had games where he went 4/20 and 3/16. I was skeptical from the start.
But then he came out on opening night and exploded for a monster game against the best team from the previous year. He showed that he’s already on track to be one of the best all-around point guards in the league, and he’s only bound to get better. Next year he’ll have a lot more help with Nerlens Noel back, as well as multiple first round picks. He has the potential to lead the Sixers to a great bunch of years in the near future.