Carter-Williams turns to Durant for advice

Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant, right, drives with the ball as Los Angeles Lakers small forward Wesley Johnson defends agaisnt him during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant, right, drives with the ball as Los Angeles Lakers small forward Wesley Johnson defends agaisnt him during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Posted: March 20, 2014

Michael Carter-Williams may have the perfect mentor in Kevin Durant.

Like the 76ers rookie, Oklahoma City's all-star forward spent his first NBA season on a team in tank mode.

The Thunder were the Seattle SuperSonics before they relocated to Oklahoma in 2008. The team reshuffled the roster heading into its final season in Seattle. The Sonics selected Durant out of Texas with the second overall pick in the 2007 draft.

The Sonics finished with the second-worst record (20-62), behind the Miami Heat (15-67).

"I talk to [Durant] a bunch, and he just gives me good advice, telling me to stick with it and just keep working every day," said Carter-Williams, whose Sixers (15-52) have lost a franchise-record 21 straight games. "I think we can relate. He's knows the struggle I'm going through.

"Just being basketball players, he came to me as a veteran and just talked to me a little about how to change things and change a program. Just a whole bunch of stuff."

Durant recalled his rookie season in October before the Thunder beat the Sixers in a preseason game in Manchester, England.

"It was tough for me, especially coming in as a young player," Durant said. "I thought I was going to play with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis when they were all-stars every year."

But the Sonics traded Allen and Glen Davis to the Boston Celtics for Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West after drafting Durant. They also dealt Lewis to the Orlando Magic.

"Every game it was tough knowing that it was going to be hard for us to win," Durant said. "But what we did was come in and work hard every day and know that it was going to be a process and maybe a tough year."

Durant has been sharing his story with Carter-Williams while other veterans have contacted rookie center Nerlens Noel throughout the season. Noel has yet to play as he recovers from offseason knee surgery.

"I can tell you personally that the respect I have [for] Kevin Durant - that is one complete person, a fantastic player, a fantastic ambassador, a good human being," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "I personally appreciate him reaching out to Michael and helping him."

So what's Durant's best advice for the Sixers?

"You just have to keep pushing through it," he said in October.

Noel update

Noel participated in some of the Sixers' half-court drills during Tuesday's practice.

"He's far off," Brown said. "Physically, he's moving forward. From many, many other levels, he's a ways away."


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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