Has Michael Carter-Williams Hit The Rookie Wall?


Jan 11, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) moves the ball upcourt during the game against the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center. The New York Knicks won 102-92.Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

All stats are prior to last night’s victory.

There was something about opening night. The Sixers hadn’t beat the Miami Heat in the previous 15 meetings, but there was something in the air on October 30th. That was Michael Carter-Williams, the rookie guard from Syracuse that had limited expectations coming into the season. Carter-Williams took the NBA by storm en route to a 22 point, 12 assists,seven rebound and nine steal performance, which also included a victory over the defending NBA champions, Miami Heat. By some, this has been dubbed as the greatest rookie debut in NBA history and it’s hard to argue against that notion. However, Carter-Williams has been less-than-stellar as of late, prompting many to ask if he’s just on a slump or if we expected too much out of the rookie point guard.

MCW’s basic stat line will tell you that he is averaging 17.0 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds. For a rookie guard, those are spectacular stats, especially for the No. 11 pick in an underwhelming draft. Everyone was aware that Carter-Williams wasn’t the most lethal shooter coming into the NBA and he hasn’t done much to change this notion. During the beginning of the season, his jumper was falling and people were beginning to think that he had reconstructed his jump shot. As of late, his jumper isn’t falling and his percentages are showing this.

For the season, MCW is shooting 41 percent from the field and 28 percent from deep, boasting a true shooting percentage of only 48 percent. However, Carter-Williams has one of the highest usage ratings in the league at 25.6 percent. Anyone that has watched the Sixers this season (God bless you), knows that besides him and the “veterans” sprinkled in, this is a horrid team.

January has been a tough month for the Rookie of the Year candidate. This month, Carter-Williams has hoisted up 158 shots, making only 58 of them. If you love numbers, that’s 39 percent from the field this month. While his field goal percentage is porous, his three-point shooting has been even worse.

In January, Carter-Williams has attempted 24 three-pointers, while only making four of them which equates to 17 percent of his three-point shots. Carter-Williams doesn’t have a performance this month, shooting over 33.3 percent from the line.

Maybe the worst part about all of this, is the amount of shots MCW is putting up. In the month of January, Carter-Williams has eight games where he has taken over 11 shots and from his 39 percent from the field this month, he isn’t making a good percentage of them. The Sixers want their point guard to be aggressive, but not jacking up shots that don’t have a chance of going in. He’s not a shooter, he is a pass-first point guard. Many times this season, Carter-Williams has tried too hard to put the team on his back.

MCW is averaging 15.4 points, 5.2 assists (3.3 turnovers) and 6.0 rebounds in January. Michael Carter-Williams has scored 154 points in January, while taking 158 shots. Whenever a player has more shots than points, it’s a concern. Carter-Williams has never been known as a great shooter, most people are aware that he can’t shoot to save his life. He’s taking way too many shots this month and he’s hit quite the rookie wall.

His basic statline is still somewhat impressive, to the naked eye. But, when the numbers are peeled back his problems are revealed. January has been a rough month for the face of a rebuilding Sixers franchise. Fans want to see the losses pile up, which they are, but they to take losses because Carter-Williams isn’t performing well. He is the face of the future for Philadelphia and he will need to start performing like it.