Carter-Williams humbled, but low-key about NBA honor

Posted: November 06, 2013

THE LEVEL at which Michael Carter-Williams played and the numbers he accumulated during his first three pro games brought about comparisons and adulation the likes of which few rookies around here have ever gotten. Yesterday, it was made official as the NBA named Carter-Williams its Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

In wins over Miami, Washington and Chicago, the 76ers point guard went for 20.7 points, 9.0 assists and 4.3 steals a game. He becomes only the second rookie to win the award in his first week in the league. The other was Shaquille O'Neal in 1992.

"It means a lot. I'm proud about it and happy about it and my family is happy about it," Carter-Williams, the 11th overall pick out of Syracuse, said of the honor. "But I've been saying after each and every game that I'm focused on the next game with my teammates. I'm happy and it's a great achievement in my career, but it's not my focus right now."

Carter-Williams has a fan in Golden State coach Mark Jackson.

"He's got great size, he's an improved shooter since college," Jackson said. "I liked him in college because of his size and his ability to make plays. His confidence is a monster; there's no stopping him. He's certainly off to an outstanding start to a long and successful career."

That was before the Warriors made Carter-Williams (18 points, on 4-for-17 shooting) and the rest of the Sixers look very pedestrian in a 110-90 thumping.

"I said from the get-go that he's better than I thought, and he's better than I thought I thought," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "He is a really good player, for being so young. But, and this is the big but, to throw out different comparisons and things too early . . . He gets it. That's the feeling that I get, that he's grounded. We help him be grounded; he helps himself be grounded. It is early days and grossly exaggerated at this very early stage, but there's no denying he's a talent, and I'm glad he's mine."

Golden State's Andre Iguodala is with his second team in as many years since leaving the Sixers in the summer of 2012 in the trade that brought Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia from the Lakers. Though Bynum was the key piece in the four-team trade, part of the thinking in getting rid of Iguodala was to clear the path for Evan Turner to take over as the team's small forward.

Asked whether he liked the transition to more freedom, Turner replied: "To some extent, but I was trying to get better and make my own situation. Dre did a lot of things that were positive for this city; he's obviously a winner, and to be able to play with him and be able to have a friendship with him is really cool. He's an Olympian and also a great player.

"To me, he's the best defensive player in the league. He knows a lot about the game. I respect his IQ and everything like that. It was always fun."

Iguodala was most impressive on the other end last night as he posted 32 points for the Warriors and drained a career-high seven three-pointers.

"The reason we got him is because he's a playmaker, a big-time defender, and a guy who does not need to score the basketball to be the best player on the floor," Mark Jackson said. "He hasn't disappointed. We're very fortunate to have him. The things he does on the basketball floor, the stat sheet does not do him justice."

It did last night.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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