This morning, the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets kicked off the week long Orlando Summer League. With a current roster of only eight players, Sam Hinkie and company will use the summer league to evaluate talent and try to fill out the roster for the 76ers with cheap contracts.
With Nerlens Noel unable to play this summer while recovering from a torn ACL, the spotlight for the 76ers this week is on number 11 overall pick Michael Carter-Williams. With the trading of young All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, MCW was taken as the heir apparent and will be handed the keys to the Sixers offense right away. He made his debut against the Rockets today, and like you would expect out of any rookie, he had his ups and downs.
The good: Carter-Williams had 26 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. He seemed to have great chemistry on the court with Rodney Williams, setting him up for three easy baskets to begin the third quarter. MCW was very aggressive with taking the ball to the basket, converting 10-of-11 from the free throw line. He also showed his defensive prowess with a man’s steal from Greg Smith in the post and a coast-to-coast layup. Lastly, he got very good experience going up against Patrick Beverly of the Rockets, someone who was part of a playoff rotation last season and one of the peskiest defenders in the NBA.
The bad: MCW had nine turnovers. Sixers fans are accustomed to this from watching Holiday last season, but there were times today where Carter-Williams was simply too out of control. Some of his turnovers were good turnovers where he was trying to be aggressive and make a play. He also shot 8-23 from the floor and 0-6 from three point range. The knock on him coming out of Syracuse was his questionable jump-shooting, and today didn’t help to silence the critics.
This week will be big for MCW. Expect him to play big minutes at the point for the 76ers this season. He needs to continue to cut down turnovers and improve his jump shot, but any debut with 27, seven boards and eight dimes is something to be excited about.