Carter-Williams stands out but Sixers lose in England

Fans from afar. Darien Weyand (left) and Jerone Stubbe took a flight to England from Belgium to root for their favorite NBA teams. KEITH POMPEY / Staff
Fans from afar. Darien Weyand (left) and Jerone Stubbe took a flight to England from Belgium to root for their favorite NBA teams. KEITH POMPEY / Staff (      KEITH POMPEY / Staff)
Posted: October 10, 2013

MANCHESTER, England - As the 76ers headed into training camp, one question loomed larger than any injury, trade rumor, or free-agent pickup:

Can rookie Michael Carter-Williams seamlessly take the point-guard reins from the former face of the franchise?

Although it might not be as seamless as fans want, the 6-foot-6, 185-pounder has taken steps to answer that question.

Carter-Williams made 3 of 5 three-pointers and finished with 11 points, four assists, four rebounds, and just one turnover Tuesday in a 103-99 preseason setback against Oklahoma City at Phones 4U Arena. But his take-charge attitude was by far his biggest contribution.

"You see an emerging leader," coach Brett Brown said. "You see an emerging competitor."

The Sixers chose the Syracuse star with the 11th overall pick on draft night after they traded NBA all-star Jrue Holiday for rookie center Nerlens Noel.

They knew that Carter-Williams, who will turn 22 on Thursday, had athleticism. One of the big questions was his ability to lead. Was he a player who would yell at a veteran for making a mistake?

"The first few times we played and went to training camp, he barely said anything," guard Evan Turner said. "If he did, he didn't really speak up."

But his teammates told him before Tuesday's game to be more vocal because they were going to listen to him.

"Not only was he vocal in certain situations and certain plays in the game," Turner said, "you messed up, he dug into you the way you are supposed to. It wasn't for himself. It was for the team."

At one point, the rookie got on veteran center Spencer Hawes for being in the wrong position.

"It wasn't anything serious," said Carter-Williams, who left Syracuse after his sophomore season. "You know we were on the same page right after that. We gave each other five and moved on to the next one."

In addition to displaying leadership, he showed that he is capable of making three-pointers. Shooting from the outside had been another weakness.

He shot 15.8 percent from three-point range in the Orlando Summer League. Carter-Williams followed that by going 0 for 3 from deep in Sunday's 106-104 victory over Bilbao Basket in Spain.

"That light had to click on at some point," Carter-Williams said of turning things around and becoming a leader. "That was my very first game the last time. I was a little nervous.

"But I'm comfortable now. And I'm ready to go for the next game."

Oklahoma City guard Reggie Jackson led all scorers with 29 points. All-star forward Kevin Durant added 21 points, 12 assists, and eight rebounds in three quarters of action.

Carter-Williams was one of five double-figure scorers for the Sixers.

Reserve guard Tony Wroten finished with a team-high 20 points on 4-for-8 three-point shooting. Turner added 19 points. Forward Thaddeus Young scored 12, and Hawes had 11.


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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