Carter-Williams at ease during all-star festivities

76ers rookie Michael Carter-Williams drives against Detroit's Andre Drummond during the Rising Stars Challenge, a game that was part of the NBA's all-star weekend festivities in New Orleans. Story, D9.
76ers rookie Michael Carter-Williams drives against Detroit's Andre Drummond during the Rising Stars Challenge, a game that was part of the NBA's all-star weekend festivities in New Orleans. Story, D9.
Posted: February 16, 2014

NEW ORLEANS - Michael Carter-Williams was in his element.

One would have thought he would be a bit nervous while participating in his first all-star weekend. Instead, the 76ers rookie was relaxed Friday morning during media availability.

He later joked around during Team Webber's shootaround for the Rising Stars Challenge, which showcases the league's top rookies and second-year players. And the 6-foot-6 point guard ended the night by showing why he's expected to be named rookie of the year.

Carter-Williams finished with 17 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, a steal, a blocked shot, and 3 turnovers as Team Webber fell, 142-136, to Team Hill at Smoothie King Arena.

"I'm lucky to be here," said Carter-Williams, who will also compete in Saturday's Skills Challenge. "I'm thankful to be here. So I'm just trying to enjoy my time. Have fun."

That was obvious during pregame introductions.

The 22-year-old ran onto the court and paused to do a little dance before greeting teammates after his name was called. Then he proceeded to dish out assists in each of Team Webber's first two possessions.

Friday wasn't just about putting on a show on the basketball court. He helped build a playground as part of the NBA Cares program after the shootaround.

"It's special to be able to give back and make a change in people's lives," he said.

While that was enjoyable, he said it was great to hang out with the NBA's top rookies and second-year players.

Carter-Williams realized that he's not the only one hitting the rookie wall.

"It's a grind for everybody," he said of getting used to the NBA's 82-game season. "Some guy feel different than others. It's tough. We know that it's a long ride."

He leads rookies in scoring (17.1), assists (6.5), rebounds (5.4), and steals (2.12).

Carter-Williams wasn't the only player with Philadelphia-area ties in the game. Cleveland Cavaliers second-year guard Dion Waiters, a Philadelphia native, finished with 31 points, 7 assists, 3 steals, 1 rebound, and 2 turnovers for Team Hill. He was 4 for 6 on three-point shots.

Confident in his abilities, Waiters always wants the ball in the clutch. He was asked Friday where his fearless mentality comes from.

"Philly, man," he said. "I'm from Philly. So you get that toughness right away. I don't know. It's just . . . a part of you."


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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