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Michael Carter-Williams struggling early in his second season

Michael Carter-Williams continues to round in to shape after May shoulder surgery kept him sidelined for the summer and greatly hindered his ability to work on and improve aspects of his game.

Michael Carter-Williams continues to round into shape after shoulder surgery in May kept him sidelined for the summer, and greatly hindered his ability to improve aspects of his game.

The reigning Rookie of the Year has played in fwer than 10 games so far this season, so it is too early to make any sort of sweeping statements. But it needs to be noted that Carter-Williams' play of late hasn't been pretty, and it will begin to be cause for concern if it isn't improved upon.

In an average of 30 minutes of action per game this season, Carter-Williams has recoreded 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.1 steals. All of these numbers are down from last year, but the statistical drop isn't the only cause for concern.

One of the biggest flaws in Carter-Williams' game last season was his inability to shoot consistently. He ended his rookie campaign with a true shooting percentage of 48. Improving upon his shot would have been at the top of Carter-Williams summer to-do list, but shoulder surgery put a wrench in those plans. It shows.

So far this season, MCW is shooting an uninspiring 36 percent from the field, including an anemic 21 percent on three-point attempts. At this point, those numbers give Carter-Williams a true shooting percentage of 42. That's not very good for a starting point guard in a league where the ability to consistently connect from long range is becoming increasingly important.

Shooting isn't Carter-Williams' only issue so far this season however. His distribution has been dreadful. So have his turnovers, which was meant to be a key area of improvement heading into the season. So far, his turnover troubles have only grown.

Carter-Williams was in the top 10 in turnovers per game last season with an average of 3.5, but at least that number was offset slightly by averaging more than six assists per game. So far this season, Carter-Williams has gone in the opposite direction. RIght now, he's averaging almost exactly as many turnovers per game (4.1) as he is assists (4.0). The former number is the second-worst in the NBA.

MCW's struggles have not been for lack of opportunity, as he is currently third in the NBA in usage rate - behind only Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose. He's just ahead of James Harden and LeBron James. The metric takes into account the number of possessions a player uses per 40 minutes. Generally, an extremely high usage rate from the point guard position isn't favorable.

Some of Carter-Williams' second-season struggles can certainly be blamed on the lack of talent around him. Defenses can gear up to stop his penetration without having to fear leaving others unattended. But some of the turnovers and forced shots are a result of Carter-Williams trying to push his team and make plays on his own. Those mistakes are part of Carter-Williams' basketball-DNA. Putting more talent around him isn't going to automatically add consistency to his shot, or help him to improve his decision-making with the ball.

Carter-Williams fails the proverbial eye test too, and that might be what's most troubling. He looks like he is forcing the issue out there, and he generally does not appear happy. Sure, it may be tough to find things to smile about when your team is marred in the midst of an 0-14 start to the season, but Carter-Williams' body language suggests that he is beyond frustrated. The constant complaints to referees, shoulder shrugs and occasional lapses of effort are concerning in any context.

He's a fiercely competitive player teeming with talent, as everyone knows, and the Sixers' continued struggles would drain anyone. But so far in his second season, it is becoming increasingly clear that there are still several areas of his game that need extreme improvement if he wants to become a truly key part of the franchise's future.