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Sports

NBA Rookie Watch: Philadelphia 76ers Point Guard Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Orange

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NBA Rookie Watch: Philadelphia 76ers Point Guard Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Orange

2013-08-14 09:47:08

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Michael Carter-Williams got his first taste of the NBA in the Orlando summer league. (Image Source: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

Last season the Philadelphia 76ers traded their top player Andre Iguodala (among others) and went all in on All-Star center Andrew Bynum. It turned out to be one of the worst moves of the 2012 offseason, if not the worst. Bynum didn’t suit up for a single game and the Sixers, a year removed from winning a playoff series, failed to make the postseason in 2013, as they finished 34-48.

What direction would they go in this offseason? They revealed their plan on draft night by again trading their lone All-Star, Jrue Holiday, to the New Orleans Pelicans putting Philly in complete rebuild mode. The 76ers added Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, the sixth pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, as well as the 2014 first-round pick of the Pelicans. The youth movement continued when they drafted point guard Michael Carter-Williams out of Syracuse with the No. 11 overall choice.

(Round 1; Pick 11) PG Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Orange

Skill Set: Physically, Carter-Williams is pretty close to being the complete package. At 6’6” he’s blessed with great size, he’s athletic and very quick. The only thing lacking is strength, so look for MCW to bulk up early on in his NBA career. During his lone season as a starter at Syracuse, Carter-Williams impressed as a playmaker racking up high assist totals. He can handle the ball, which allows him to attack the lane where he can be a very affective scorer, however he can also get sloppy with his ball handling. Very few collegiate defenders were able to shutdown MCW, although he proved to very capable of shutting himself down. The biggest detriment to his game at the college level was an inconsistent jumper, which lacked range and was downright ugly at times.

Value: I’d lean towards excellent value outside the top 10, but this is one of those beauty is in the eye of the beholder cases. MCW was the most talented point guard in the 2013 NBA Draft and he has one of the highest ceilings of any player in the class, regardless of position. However, especially given Syracuse’s penchant for producing underachieving Lottery Picks, you can’t ignore his low floor and bust potential. Other prospects on the board at No. 11 were “safer” than MCW.

Need: With Jrue Holiday on his way to New Orleans, point guard immediately vaulted from Philadelphia’s biggest strength to their biggest need. MCW isn’t just their point guard of the future, but probably the present as well.

Final Analysis: MCW is potentially a pure point guard with amazing length, who sees the floor very well for a kid who was a fulltime player for just one season at the college level, where he led Syracuse to the Final 4. Right off the bat we saw the ups and downs Carter-Williams will experience this season in the first two games of the Orlando Summer League. In the first game, he scored 26 points [8/23] with eight assists and nine turnovers [wow!], which he followed by going turnover-less in his second outing, but he shot just 4-for-20. In five games in Orlando, MCW was second among all players with 6.8 APG but shot an abysmal 27.1 percent from the field and 15.8 percent from downtown outlining what he can do for the 76ers this season and what he needs to work on. If he can get stronger to battle through physical defenders and get more consistent with his J, expect Carter-Williams to be among the NBA’s league leaders in assists rather quickly with the potential to be Philly’s next All-Star.

Draft Grade: B+

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