Michael Carter-Williams is in a funk.
The 76ers point guard is not the player he was a season ago, when he won NBA rookie of the year.
"When I'm out there, I don't feel as explosive," Carter-Williams said. "I don't feel like I'm in the passing lanes [defensively]. My steals are down. The little things I did last year are not what I'm doing this year. I need to get back to those things."
Carter-Williams was sidelined six months after right-shoulder surgery on May 6. He made this season's debut in a 123-70 loss at Dallas on Nov. 13.
Through seven games heading into Wednesday's matchup with Brooklyn at the Wells Fargo Center, Carter-Williams was averaging 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. However, the 6-foot-6, 190-pounder also averaged 4.1 turnovers and shot 36.3 percent from the field (20.8 percent on three-pointers). He made just 63.9 percent of his foul shots.
But perhaps his most notable flaw has been negative body language on the court.
Add all that up, and Carter-Williams is going from a fan favorite to an easy target for criticism. He was booed in the first quarter of Monday's home loss to Portland.
"I think I'm definitely my biggest critic, because I want to do well," Carter-Williams said. "My heart is in the right place. [The Sixers coaches] are just trying to let me know just to settle down. Let it take a little bit of time to get my body back."
Carter-Williams didn't expect to struggle. But the former Syracuse standout knew he wouldn't start out playing as well as he did last season.
Carter-Williams led all rookies in scoring (16.7 points per game), assists (6.3), rebounds (6.2), and steals (1.86) en route to being named rookie of the year. Robertson and Alvan Adams were the only other players to lead all rookies in scoring, assists, and rebounds in a season, dating back to the 1950-51 season.
He also joined Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson as the only rookies to average at least 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists. He finished the season with 16 double-doubles and two triple-doubles.
"I was playing really good ball," Carter-Williams said of last season. "After the surgery, I had to do a lot of sitting around. Now, I'm getting back to game shape and getting my timing right.
"I've done some careless things out there I don't think I would normally do. So I'm still getting my feet underneath me. I'm expecting to be myself again pretty soon."