The 2014 NBA Draft is setting up to have a lot of surprises in store for both the league and its fans.
One of the most recent rumors that has been circulating around NBA circles is that the Los Angeles Lakers are open to trading their lottery pick for future assets or players who could help them next season to win games with Kobe Bryant returning from injury. One of the teams that has been speculated to jump all over that notion is the Philadelphia 76ers.
It has been rumored by sources that the Lakers would be prepared to offer the No. 7 overall pick and Steve Nash to the 76ers in exchange for Thaddeus Young and Michael Carter-Williams.
The question is, if such a deal even exists, should the 76ers pull the trigger and trade away their reigning NBA Rookie of the Year for a chance at another lottery pick and another potential NBA stud?
The answer to that question is yes, as surprising as that may be to those who pay attention to the game of basketball.
When looking at Carter-Williams’ stats from afar, everything looks alright. In fact, his numbers suggest he is better than alright and that he is on his way to becoming a special player in the NBA for years to come. During his rookie season, Carter-Williams lead all rookies in points per game (16.7), rebounds per game (6.3) and assists per game (6.2), and was also able to add 1.9 steals per game to his stat line, showcasing the impact he had on both sides of the ball for the 76ers. However, when looking a little more closely at his stats using more advanced metrics and shooting percentages, as well as factoring in the offensive system Carter-Williams was a part of, his stats are not nearly as impressive.
Carter-Williams was able to make some good passes here and there, and sometimes he even made great ones. Nevertheless, Carter-Williams must learn how to take care of the ball a bit better if he is going to insist having the ball in his hands for the majority of his time in the NBA. Carter-Williams averaged 3.5 turnovers per game, and at times displayed sloppy ball-handling and decision-making. Yes, this was his first year in the league, but these numbers still have to be taken into account, and when they are factored with his shooting ability, Carter-Williams does not look like the next star in the making.
Carter-Williams shot only 40.5 percent from the field this past season, which includes 44.0 percent on two-point attempts and 26.4 percent on three-pointers. Along with those spots on the floor, Carter-Williams was only able to shoot 70.3 percent from the free-throw line, indicating that he still has a lot of work to do when it comes to shooting the ball at a consistent rate. His 34.8 effective field goal percentage and his only slightly above average player efficiency rating (15.5), along with his poor offensive and defensive ratings (96 and 108, respectively) suggest that Carter-Williams really is not as great as his bare numbers prove him to be.
The 76ers played at one of the fastest paces in the NBA last season, giving Carter-Williams more opportunities than arguably any other rookie in the league, which allowed his stats to become more inflated than they most likely should have been, which is a big reason why Carter-Williams was considered the best rookie in the NBA this past season.
Even though his advanced numbers do not project stardom, Carter-Williams is still a player full of potential that in time could be a solid pass-first point guard and offensive weapon as long as he continues to develop his jump shot. With that being said, due to the Joel Embiid injury, Philadelphia has a much more attractive draft option at the point guard spot in Dante Exum. He is the same size (6-foot-6) as Carter-Williams, but is a much more solid scorer and athletic talent with a much higher ceiling. If the 76ers take Exum with the No. 3 pick, then it would make sense for the team to trade Carter-Williams to try and get another young talent along with their No. 10 pick. The Lakers would get the point guard the team has been looking for to play alongside Bryant, while the 76ers would continue to stockpile assets for the future.
The trade makes sense: do it Philly.