Stacking Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten up against some of the best NBA backcourts in history


Mar 12, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown talks with guard Tony Wroten (8) and guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at the Wells Fargo Center. The Kings defeated the Sixers 115-98. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Let me clarify: We are stacking the duo of Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten against some of the best duos in league history at their current points in their careers.

So, we’ll be looking at duos that were playing together during their first NBA two seasons since Wroten is in his second year and MCW is a rookie.

So, let’s go over Wroten and MCW.

MCW, as well know, is a rookie who has played well. Some could argue he’s the best player on this “team”. As a rather tall PG, he’s leading all rookies in points, assists, and even rebounds. It’s almost a lock he wins Rookie of the Year. Almost. He’s hit a few walls that keeps the race alive.

Meanwhile, and I briefly touched on this, Wroten is having a career year. I asked if he could possibly win the Most Improved Player award. Ultimately, my thoughts were he would be in talks but would not win it. Still, he’s been much better than last year, although he’s still got a ways to go.

Combined, here’s some per game stats for this season:

Points: 30.4

Assists: 9.1

Steals: 3.1

FG%: 41%

3FG: 25%

This list wasn’t easy. There’s plenty of great duos in league history. However, like I said, I only went with guys who spent their rookie and/or sophomore years and on together. Here are the duos (it’s a pretty decent list):

Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond (Warriors)

Kevin Johnson and Jeff Hornacek (Suns)

Sam Jones and K.C. Jones (Celtics)

Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher (Lakers)

Oscar Robertson and Adrian Smith (Kings)

Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili (Spurs)

You probably agree with all pf these except for Kobe and Fisher. And by Kobe and Fisher, I mean Fisher. Look, these two were the starting backcourt for multiple championships. Sure, Shaq was the best of the first three, and then Kobe, but, still, this duo was doing it together for a long time. And Fisher had some key moments too.

Hornacek was a terrific shooter early in is career. Johnson was quite possibly better than Steve Nash when it comes to the Suns’ best PG of all time. They may not have won much while being together, but they were a good pair.

Of course, Sam Jones and K.C. Jones, along with Bill Russell ruled the NBA for a over a decade. Nuff said.

Hardaway and Mitch Richmond were another pair that didn’t win anything, but they were a really good pair.

Oscar Robertson of this post averaged a triple double while Adrian Smith was a rookie. They played well together for several years. With all of those assists from Robertson, somebody had to be benefiting from them. Smith was a key guy.

Parker and Ginobili are still in the league, but, their legacy is pretty much sealed. Along with Tim Duncan, in a weaker Boston Celtics Jones pair, dominated the league for over a decade. Always in championship talks. And it doesn’t happen without this duo.

So, I think these are some good pairs to match with MCW and Wroten. And again, these guys played together while in their rookie and/or sophomore years and grew together. That’s the key to this list. So, let’s get the stats per game:

Hardaway/Richmond: 36.8, 11.6, 3.4, 48%, 32%

Hornacek/Johnson: 22.1, 15.3, 2.8, 48%, 25%

Robertson/Smith: 38, 13.5, (no steals), 44%, (no 3FG)

Jones/Jones: 14.2, 1.4, (no steals), 39%, (no 3FG)

Bryant/Fisher: 11.5, 1.4, 1.2, 41%, 34%

Ginobili/Parker: 23.1, 7.3, 2.3, 45%, 34%

So, interesting numbers.

I’m gonna keep it real with y’all. When I was first assigned to do this piece, I laughed. Seemed like a waste of time to compare MCW and Wroten to some of the greats. But now, looking at the numbers…I gotta say, it’s closer than I expected.

Hold on! I’m not saying our duo is gonna go toe to toe with the Jones duo. I’m just saying, our duo’s start to their career is similar in quite a few ways on the stats sheet.

So, back in the day, there was no 3-point shooting. Also, the NBA took a long time to start looking after steals. I’m going to rank the numbers of MCW/Wroten with these six pairs. Steals and 3-point shooting will be excluded since not all of the duos have stats for them.

Points: 3rd

Assists: 4th

FG: tied 6th

Okay, this is only three lines of stats. Not bad. And we’re just talking about young duos here. Even greater duos have not been shown. Perhaps several years later, we can look back at all of the top backcourt duos and rank alongside MCW/Wroten. I’ll probably be retired from basketball blogging, but if I remember this post, I’ll update it.

Okay, so, on this list, where do you think MCW/Wroten fit? What about overall legacy? Where will MCW/Wroten place with these same duos in their best years? Out of these stats, who’s your best duo? Have fun with this.