|(Times staff /ERIC HARTLINE)|
The offseason was on the
doorstep when Michael Carter-Williams
, while seated at his Wells Fargo Center
locker, was questioned about postseason award voting.
Namely, the 76ers’ point guard
was asked whether he remembered a tweet from opening night, when Magic Johnson
needed nothing more than Carter-Williams’ near quadruple-double to declare him
the league’s Rookie of the Year.
“Of course,” Carter-Williams
said. “That is something I will never forget. It was a great compliment and it
was greatly appreciated.”
Johnson certainly took notice.
So did media members around the country.
Monday, Carter-Williams was
named NBA Rookie of the Year. He became only the second player in franchise
history to win the honor, joining Allen Iverson, who took home the hardware in
A 6-6 guard out of Syracuse,
Carter-Williams led all rookies in scoring, assists, rebounds and steals and
was often a bright spot in a bleak season.
It was believed the Sixers’
19-win campaign, amid the franchise’s rebuilding effort, would hinder
Carter-Williams’ case to win the award. Instead, he edged out Orlando’s Victor
Oladipo, 569 points to 364, to win the award and garnered 104 of a possible 124
first-place votes. Trey Burke of Utah finished third in the voting.
Including Carter-Williams, the
last 11 Rookie of the Year winners have come from teams with losing records.
The 11th overall
pick in last summer’s draft, Carter-Williams is the lowest-picked Rookie of the
Year recipient since 1987-88, when the New York Knicks’ Mark Jackson – who went
18th overall in the previous year’s draft – took home the hardware.
Carter-Williams began turning heads in the
first game of his first pro season. He posted 22 points, 12 assists, nine
steals and seven rebounds Oct. 30, as the Sixers took down the defending
champion Miami Heat, 114-110.
Afterward, Johnson took to
social media to gush about Carter-Williams’ performance.
“I just got done watching the
guy I think will be the Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams of the
76ers,” the NBA legend tweeted.
Seven months later, Johnson’s
prediction panned out.
Statistical support was on Carter-Williams’
side. He joined Oscar Robertson (1960-61) and Alvan Adams (1975-76) as the only
players to pace all rookies in scoring, rebounds and assists. On that note,
these per-game averages by Carter-Williams led all first-year players: 16.7
points, 6.3 assists, 6.2 rebounds, 1.86 steals and 34.5 minutes.
What’s more, his 4.8 defensive
rebounds per game were the most ever by a rookie guard, eclipsing the 4.4
defensive boards by Chester native Tyreke Evans during his 2009-10 Rookie of
the Year campaign with Sacramento.
Carter-Williams was named
Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in four of the six months of the regular
There’s a decent chance the
Sixers could become the first team since the Buffalo Braves (Bob McAdoo in
1972-73, and Ernie DiGregorio in 1973-74) to boast back-to-back Rookies of the
Year. Center Nerlens Noel, who missed all of last season while rehabbing a knee
injury, is eligible, as will be the slew of players the Sixers take in June’s
draft. They hold seven picks, including two in the first round.
Labels: awards, Michael Carter-Williams, rookie