Philadelphia 76ers: Michael Carter-Williams' Best Weapon Is His Defense

By Alan Gung
Michael Carter-Williams
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Carter-Williams is already known for his scoring, but his defense might be his bigger strength. Carter-Williams showed this in the Philadelphia 76ers‘ loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

He’s currently fourth in the NBA in steals per game, averaging 2.6. He’s also one of the top point guards in blocks. Carter-Williams is second amongst point guards in deflecting shots averaging nearly .8 blocks per game.

Opponents might have figured out Carter-Williams’ offense but can’t get past him on the other end. He failed to score in double digits but managed to block three shots and get three steals. In the loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Carter-Williams also demonstrated his defensive side with two steals and two blocks.

Not many rookie NBA point guards can play both ends of the floor, but Carter-Williams is becoming more of a veteran with his stops.

The 6-foot-6 guard has the size and quickness to make stops, and he’s already held his own against some top competition holding Tony Parker to 14 points and Kyrie Irving to 10 points in a win in the first meeting against the Cavaliers. However, he had trouble in the second game against Irving, Stephen Curry and John Wall.

In those games he allowed his matchup to go off as Carter-Williams appeared to give them too many open looks and relaxed on defense. Part of the problem is it’s basically him playing point guard by himself for nearly an entire game. He averages 36.6 minutes per game and is leading all rookies in minutes this season. Most rookies are playing under 30 minutes per game.

The Sixers need to sign another point guard to relieve Carter-Williams of minutes so he can be refreshed and keep his opponents from getting hot.

He’ll have some tough competition ahead when the Sixers play Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and Jeff Teague and the Atlanta Hawks Friday night. Lin has been playing tremendous, averaging 16.1 points, four assists, 1.6 steals while shooting 54.5-percent from the field and 45.5-percent on three-pointers. Teague averages 17.1 points, 10.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

Carter-Williams is expected to put up some big stats, but his biggest will be keeping Lin’s and Teague’s points low.

Alan Gung is a Philadelphia 76ers writer for Follow him on Twitter @AlanGung, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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