View Count: 531 |  Publish Date: April 07, 2014
Carter-Williams needs veteran guard to show him the way
Keith Pompey, Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014, 3:01 AM
Michael Carter-Williams is young in basketball terms. The 76ers rookie point guard is a wide-eyed pup who has had limited veteran guidance this season.
The 22-year-old still has a lot to learn, and the hard-knock lessons have piled up at times. Sixers coach Brett Brown and his staff have been racking their brains, trying to figure ways to help ease his growing pains.
Perhaps the best option is bringing in a 10- to 12-year veteran point guard this offseason to help nurture the rookie-of-the-year favorite.
Guard Jason Richardson and power forward Thaddeus Young are the only Sixers with more than six years of NBA experience. And Richardson has been inactive all season while he rehabilitates after a left knee injury. The rest of the ever-changing roster is made up of six rookies, four second-year players, and a third-, a fourth-, and a fifth-year veteran. More coverageWATCH: Sixers-Nets highlightsVOTE: Which freshman should the 76ers target?POLL: Who will have the best NBA career?Latest Sixers videos Forum: When will the 76ers be a threat again?
So Carter-Williams hasnt had the luxury of looking over at the bench for guidance from a knowledgeable, veteran point guard.
He has to play through his mistakes, Young said. I think thats the biggest thing. He has to adapt and get through it just by playing, continue to play and continue to watch game film, continue to break down certain situations on the court. And hes done a good job.
Its hard to argue that Carter-Williams hasnt had a successful rookie campaign.
The 6-foot-6, 185-pounder leads all rookies in scoring (16.7 points per game), assists (6.3), rebounds (6.1), and steals (1.9). Hes on pace to join Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson as the only rookies to average at least 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. And Carter-Williams is the first Sixer to be named Eastern Conference rookie of the month three times.
But he is far from a finished product.
Although he is trying, Carter-Williams still needs to work on his body language on the court and not worry about referees calls. He has to gain strength and improve on his shooting and pick-and-roll defense. CarterWilliams also needs in-house mentorship during what the Sixers hope is his transformation into an all-star-caliber player.
Thats definitely something I would like, Carter-Williams said of veteran guidance. Learning is something big in this game. To learn from guys whove been in this league is great, and it can only help me.
Most of this his guidance this season has come from Brown and assistant coaches Lloyd Pierce and Billy Lange. Advice from coaches - especially constructive criticism - can get tiring over time. Thats why its always good to hear the same speech or instructions from a veteran on the roster who commands respect.
Brown thinks Richardson could serve as that veteran voice, even though he is a shooting guard. The coach said the 13th-year veteran has value.
He has a voice that counts for something thats heard, Brown said, and quite possibly thats going to be his role.
His resumé and his personality and his character certainty would allow him to have a chance of doing that. Right now, I see him doing that.
Richardson would excel in that role. But hes not enough. The Sixers desperately need a veteran point guard whose primary purpose is to help in Carter-Williams development.
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