Posted by: Jake Fischer
07/16/13 12:11 pm EST

Along with JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, Roger Ebert’s Your Movie Sucks, and a random book about LeBron leaving Cleveland, one of the books I’m reading this summer is When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball by Seth Davis.  On page 230, after Davis brilliantly depicts Magic Johnson and Michigan State’s 1979 NCAA Finals victory over Indiana State and Larry Bird, there’s a passage that really struck me.

“He is not superstar material for the NBA,’ Joe Falls wrote in the Detroit News.  “Maybe he can grow into it.  But he isn’t there yet, and some NBA scouts wonder if he will ever get there.”

Falls wrote that about Magic Johnson before the ’79 NBA Draft.  And, as a devout 76ers follower and a writer who spent all of last week sitting courtside in press row at the Orlando Pro Summer League, I couldn’t help but think that quote could easily describe Michael Carter-Williams as a rookie as well.

Now, I’m not saying MCW is the second coming of Magic Johnson.  But, I am saying that it’s far too early to label him anything but a project with a very high ceiling.

The Lakers, a team then in championship contention took Magic No. 1 overall and he was still generating skepticism and a little bit of doubt.  Carter-Williams was the No. 11 overall pick by a team that has traded away their only previous building block and is clearly tanking for the 2014 Draft.

He has no pressure to win and can focus his entire rookie season on improving and tweaking his individual game.  So be patient, people.

After watching MCW play 5 games in 6 days, I studied every element of his troublesome shot.  He gets solid elevation and is pretty vertical on his release, but MCW kind of pushes the ball with his off hand.  He only shot 27.1 percent from the field overall and a truly dreadful 15.8 percent from three, but his 76 percent shooting from the line is a promising sign.

Outside of the issue his off hand, he has a pretty solid form.  With the distance to the rim and setting of a free throw, that problem can be masked.  It’s just that in the heat of battle, when you’re forced to shoot off-balanced shots, that guide hand can add some unnecessary spin to the ball as it approaches the rim.  That’s a pretty easy fix for a guy when he’s literally the focal point of this franchise for the next 6 months while Nerlens Noel rehabs.

He also averaged 4.8 turnovers per game, but you can easily assess a fourth of them to Arnett Moultrie and Michael Eric dropping his bullet entry passes and another fourth to the awfully stagnant offense Michael Curry forced him to run (I’d love to see his usage rate from the week, too.).

You can credit him for the other half to his poor decision-making and some of his mental lapses in a faster game.  Whittle that number down to 2.4 per game, and that’s not too terrible, especially for a rookie.  It’s also realistic, knowing that he will probably have more NBA-quality teammates during the regular season.

Overall, I can tell you and be completely unbiased when I say the former Syracuse point guard clearly has an understanding of the game of basketball and knows how to get his teammates involved.  He comes off the pick and roll with a full head of steam, he’s able to survey the floor at his size and he can get to and finish at the rim pretty efficiently as well.

It’s far too early to write him off or label him as a bust after just 5 games in Summer League.  Sure, you can argue he struggled against the bottom half of NBA talent, but he also barely had any NBA talent around him.  The team’s second option on offense was Khalif Wyatt and he doesn’t even have a guaranteed NBA contract yet!

Relax with your sweeping Carter-Williams judgments.  Give him time.

People once hated on Magic Johnson’s potential, too.  Look where he ended up.


Jake Fischer is a scribe for Philadunkia.  You can follow him on Twitter @JakeLFischer

You can follow us on Twitter @philadunkia



13 Responses to “BE PATIENT”

  1. Steve Toll
    16. July 2013 at 12:50

    I understand that there is a certain level of optimism that you portray, but this is just absurd. I say that because there is ample evidence that MCW will not has his R3 picked up by the 76ers. So here we go……

    You knock MCW’s teammates but fail to acknowledge the other teams were trotting out similar players. MCW’s college exploits seem to be ignored, most notable his 49.1 TS% in 1 year of playing major college minutes. I’m not sure where your assist math came from, but it is straight up from outer space. Defensively, MCW will be a pretty massive negative. That is a generally accepted fact of the NBA for guys early in their career, especially PGs.

    Magic averaged 17pts, 7.6 reb, 7.9 ast with a TS% of 55 in 2 years at Michigan State. His team lost in the elite 8 his freshman year to the eventual champs, Kentucky. He was the MOP the next year while winning the NCAA title. Magic played his first NBA game at 20 years-2 months old and less than a year later was hoisting the NBA Finals Trophy and the Finals MVP.

    MCW will be 22 years old when he plays his first NBA game. In his 1 major college season, 12pts, 5reb, 7.3 ast with a TS% of 49.1
    In his first 5 games against replacement level NBA talent, MCW rocked a 35.8 TS%

    There is a glass half full mentality and then there is insanity. This piece on MCW is the latter.

  2. Jake Fischer
    16. July 2013 at 15:12

    “Now, I’m not saying MCW is the second coming of Magic Johnson.”

    I didn’t compare the two PGs, I simply used the concept of criticizing a player early on to fuse the two stories together.

    Second of all, the NBA is not college. He’s not playing in Jim Boeheim’s system. He’s not playing with guys who won’t make the NBA. You’ve never seen him play on a court with 10 NBA players.

    Hell, you probably won’t until 2014-2015. Wait and make a judgement on him until then.

  3. RYN_JAY
    16. July 2013 at 15:32

    Steve Toll just proves again that he does absolutely nothing but look at numbers.

  4. Alex Hootan
    16. July 2013 at 16:23

    Insanity? Wow, take it easy bro. I would suggest you do a similar piece as Jake and compare MCW to Rondo when he was a rookie.Does MCW have flaws that cannot be corrected with the right teaching? Obviously Jake puts it nicely that the kid needs to be developed. But do you see major issues here that may seem to be show stoppers in his development process?

  5. Steve You Idiot
    16. July 2013 at 17:00


    You once compared MJ to Jrue in the sort of way that Jake did. Now i know that you have insecurity problems and probably cry yourself to sleep over your failure as a person, but don’t make it worse by being a hypocrate. Get over yourself.

  6. Steve Toll
    16. July 2013 at 19:00


    The problem with tying that together if the criticism for Magic is absolutely ridiculous, the MCW criticism is backed by a decent sample of evidence.

    Are you trying to making the point that if a guy like CP3 was in Summer League, he would be worse than he is in the NBA because the other 9 guys are all replacement level?

    Here is some other evidence that MCW will fail, the gist is that sophomores with a TS% under .5 and average more than 5 assists per game are NEVER NBA players :

    I live by the motto “if the evidence is there, go with it. Why wait?”

    That is your opinion

    Alex Hootan,

    MCW won’t be in the NBA in 2015-2016 for anything but a minimum salary deal, if at all

    Going to discount that Rondo was 18 months younger than MCW will be for his NBA game?

    HERE ARE RONDO’s Summer League Stats from 2006 vs MCW:

    5G, 32MPG, 10.4pts (59.1 TS%), 4 reb, 5.8 ast, 1.8 TO, 2.2 stl

    5G, 31MPG, 13.6pts (35.8 TS%), 4.2reb, 6.8ast, 4.8 TS, 2 stl

  7. Alex
    16. July 2013 at 21:36

    Let’s not make perditions based on lack of data. If you know stat, a sample of 10 does not say anything. Also people developed at different rates and 18 month younger doe not mean much.
    As far as Rondo’s comparison, MCW needs to improve his shooting % and bring his TOs down. I’ll say he will be better than Rondo in 3 years.

  8. Rob h
    16. July 2013 at 21:56

    I don’t agree with toll on much mcw is barely a nba player now and certainly won’t be come his team options years. He is just too flawed. His shooting is abysmal as is his turnover rate. He was a horrible pick at 11 maybe mid to late 20s but definitely not 11. I was praying cj mochullom would fall to us be we came up just short. As for mcw I don’t think hinkie has many eggs in his basket if we don’t get the number 1-3 pick the pg Harrison will def be taken if there.

  9. Jake Fischer
    17. July 2013 at 11:42


    Thanks for reading. At the end of the day, disagree with my opinion but I appreciate your eyes and your time. Overall, I just think we won’t see what Michael Carter-Williams is as a pro until the 2015-2016 season. Give him time to grow and mature.

  10. Steve Toll
    17. July 2013 at 12:06


    Choose to ignore relevant information all you’d like. MCW will either be on a min salary deal 3 years from now or playing in Europe.


    Hasn’t MCW been working on shooting the basketball for the past 15+ years? The funny thing about you listing 15-16 is that the 76ers are like .1% to pick up his R3

  11. Rob h
    18. July 2013 at 00:36

    Do you plan on writing an article about the jrue trade and the new path the sixers are on? All we heard from you was that little snippet after that draft. I’m intrigued on hearing your extended thoughts on the trade, the aftermath, and the future.

  12. Jon
    21. July 2013 at 17:39

    Hahahahah that’s a good one! But yes I’ve twerked very hard to get to where I am today!

  13. Adam
    23. July 2013 at 10:02

    Rob H: Why? I generally skip over those.

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