Philly Sports Live

An Uphill Battle Awaits Michael Carter-Williams In Year One

During the offseason, it is nice to try and be as optimist as possible before reality sets in. However, there might not be a player in the NBA with a harder road ahead of them than Michael Carter-Williams. The rookie from Syracuse might be a fantasy basketball nightmare right now due to his high turnover rate and poor outside shooting in the summer leagues, but it will get even tougher for him as he is asked to lead to young, rebuilding Philadelphia team as a starting point guard.

Just about everyone not affiliated with the Philadelphia 76ers are looking at the 2013-2014 season as nothing more than an opportunity to lose some games and rebuild with a stacked draft. In the NBA, most teams have to be bad before they can rebuild and become good. Philadelphia is doing their best to set themselves up for a long season, as they cut ties with Andrew Bynum and traded away their only All-Star, Jrue Holliday.

Presumably, Carter-Williams will be asked to replace Holliday, and fellow rookie Nerlens Noel will take Bynum’s place in street clothes on the bench. Noel will be limited after a knee injury last season, so Carter-Williams is likely to be the only rookie receiving major minutes for the 76ers.

The NBA is in the golden era of point guards, so things will not be easy for the youngster. He has the height and raw ability to be an above-average player in the NBA, but right now he is not nearly refined enough to handle the pressure night in and night out. Not being able to shoot from outside will allow teams to sag off him as well, which could cause issues.

There is also the adjustment he must make to guarding the point guard position. If there is one knock on the Syracuse system, it is that their zone defense does not prepare players for man-to-man in the NBA. Carter-Williams is a solid athlete, but the elite point guards in the league outclass him right now. He will need to bulk up and improve his lateral quickness before truly being able to hold his own.

Ideally, Carter-Williams would not be asked to play as much as he will end up playing in 2013-2014. Philadelphia believes in him, so they are willing to live with the mistakes he makes in year one. The fantasy basketball numbers probably will not be pretty, and the 76ers might not win 20 games, but the hope is that Carter-Williams uses his first year as a learning experience in the NBA as the team adds pieces for the future.