After a shaky start to his sophomore season, Michael Carter-Williams has been playing some much better ball as of late, and he has been posting some solid statistics.
The reigning Rookie of the Year missed the first seven games of the season after being sidelined all summer following shoulder surgery, and his slow start can likely be attributed to rust and getting acclimated to new teammates. Whatever the reason, the Sixers, winners of two out of their last three games – yes you read that right – have been benefitting from Carter-Williams' return to form and his improved play.
Over the past five games, Carter-Williams set a career-high in assists with 16, had a triple-double once, and flirted with another four times. Over that span he averaged 19.6 points, 12.2 assists, nine rebounds and two steals per contest, while looking much more comfortable on the court and in control of the offense.
"I'm getting that feeling back," he stated after a game last week, before crediting his teammates for his increasing assist numbers.
"[My teammates] are doing a great job," he explained. "They're getting to the rim, finishing, knocking down shots."
The emergence of Robert Covington has helped. Covington, who was the top pick of the most recent D-League Draft, has averaged 21 points per over the past three, and shown himself to be a legitimate offensive option.
"They're in the right position," Carter-Williams continued. "My job is just to find them when they're open."
Carter-Williams makes it sound easy, but pioneering the struggling Sixers has been a challenge, especially for someone that 'hates losing' like Carter-Williams often says he does.
"We're always pushing, always looking to improve," Carter-Williams said of his team's progress. Over the last week or two, it has shown, and the team has been rewarded with a couple wins. No, they're not going to suddenly make a playoff push, but that wasn't expected. What was expected was that the team's talent would be given ample opportunity to develop, and that new talent would be tested. Both are occurring, and any wins in the present are a by-product of that young talent developing.
Carter-Williams still has a lot of work to do in limiting his turnovers and improving his shooting percentage, and he has to learn to better co-exist with Tony Wroten, who will be returning this week. Overall though, Carter-Williams' recent play is a very solid sign for the SIxers.