Sixers' rookie has a shot

Posted: October 18, 2013

THE PROGRESS (pronounced PRO-gress by 76ers coach Brett Brown) has been admirable, the confidence high and the reins pretty much nonexistent. It certainly hasn't been smooth sailing for rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams during his inaugural NBA preseason, but it has been a bit eye-opening in the positive sense for Brown.

"I think he competes, he has a little swagger," Brown said following his lead guard's performance against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, a thumping 30-point loss. "He doesn't like looking up at the scoreboard and reading what it reads. I think he played it through to the end. He rose up and took some shots when they gave it to him at the end. I think that he's been good. From a competitive side he's showed me way more than I originally thought."

When talking to him, Carter-Williams displays a why-wouldn't-I-belong-here attitude.

While getting thrown into the fire after the team traded his All-Star predecessor, Jrue Holiday, should elicit patience and understanding from his coach and fans, MCW doesn't seem to want any part of that.

Some of that has to do with his makeup. A lot of it has to do with the way Brown is coaching him. The new coach is keenly aware of the huge waves crashing in on Carter-Williams' mind. But instead of throwing him a life jacket, most of the time he lets the 22-year-old ride them out.

Through the first three games MCW compiled 16 assists to just one turnover. Brown was pleased, but wanted more, wanted faster play, maybe even a higher giveaway amount because of it. All the while, Carter-Williams has done what has been asked and surprised his coach. The weakness of his game coming out of Syracuse was his shot, but Brown loves the confidence Carter-Williams has in letting it go.

"I think his willingness to take it has been good because he doesn't flinch," Brown said. "I think in the evolution of his career you will start realizing when to shoot and when not to shoot a little bit more. But right now, I'm fine. We want him taking shots, we want him feeling confident when people go underneath him. [Meaning when Carter-Williams goes off a pick-and-roll, defenders go under the screen, thus leaving him an open long jumper].

"Look at what Derrick Rose did and Russell Westbrook did and all those guys had to grow from this. The whole league is going to go underneath of him and I'm encouraging him to rise up at times."

It appears Carter-Williams doesn't need too much encouragement thus far. His confidence level came in pretty high.

Orton in

The team signed free-agent center Daniel Orton yesterday and released center Tim Ohlbrecht. The 6-10, 275-pound Orton, 23, spent last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder and spent time with Thunder's NBA Development League affiliate Tulsa 66ers. In 29 games he averaged 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and shot 53.4 percent from the floor. Orton played a season at Kentucky before declaring for the 2010 draft. He was selected 29th overall by the Orlando Magic.

He played 16 games, including two starts, for Orlando in 2011-12 and averaged 2.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 11.7 minutes. Last season for the Thunder, Orton played 13 games and averaged 2.5 points and two rebounds in 8 minutes.

Orton has very good hands and possesses a very good touch around the rim and is a tough athlete. His offensive game still needs improvement and his perimeter defense is suspect, according to a scouting report.

With so many big men down, Orton fulfills the Sixers' need for someone who can fill some minutes in the post off the bench.

Six shots

The Sixers face the Charlotte Bobcats at 11 a.m. today at Time Warner Cable Arena. If you happen to be in the Charlotte area, it's probably a safe bet that plenty of tickets will be available for this one, maybe even for free . . . The Sixers will play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday at Ohio State University, Evan Turner's college home . . . The latest over/under regular-season betting totals from Bovada have the Sixers' number at 17 wins. It is the lowest total in the league. The Heat have the highest win total at 61.5 followed by the Clippers at 57. The highest total for an Eastern Conference team is 56.5 for the Chicago Bulls . . . Charlotte center Al Jefferson, the team's big free-agent acquisition in the offseason, is out with a sprained ankle. He hopes to return for the season opener . . . Former NBA star Patrick Ewing is an assistant coach on the Bobcats staff for first-year coach Steve Clifford.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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