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Carter-Williams expects 'a little edge' when Bucks visit 76ers

Midseason trades require a multitude of adjustments for an NBA player. New teammates, new coaches and new philosophies must all be adapted to and mastered.

Midseason trades require a multitude of adjustments for an NBA player. New teammates, new coaches and new philosophies must all be adapted to and mastered.

And then there are those pesky pronouns.

"A lot of things are different," Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Carter-Williams said Friday after a shootaround at Madison Square Garden. "The dynamic of the team is different. I think we have a few more vet guys than Philly does. It's just a different coaching staff. Not to say one is better than the other. Things are just different.

"Of course, they are," he added, nodding at teammates seated behind him before quickly realizing his mistake. "We are playing for the playoffs and Philly is looking to rebuild, so it's just two different styles."

Slip of the tongue notwithstanding, Carter-Williams finally might be adjusting well for the playoff-bound Bucks after the Sixers traded him at the Feb. 19 trade deadline.

He had 12 points and five assists Sunday as the Bucks clinched a playoff berth by beating Brooklyn, 96-73. Milwaukee finished with the league's worst record (15-67) last season.

The 6-foot-6, 195-pounder will return to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time Monday night, eager to face his old team.

"I can't wait to come back to Philly," he said Friday. "Of course it's going to be fun because, you know, they traded me, so there's a little edge there."

Sixers guard Jason Richardson has played for five NBA teams. He has an idea of what Carter-Williams will go through Monday night.

"It's going to be a lot of emotion," Richardson said. "He is going to be nervous, because you want to play good. You want to show [your old team] up."

After making just 43 of 120 shots from the field (35 percent) and collecting 53 assists and 41 turnovers in his previous 10 games, last season's rookie of the year has shot 27 of 44 (61 percent) with 20 assists and five turnovers in his last three.

"There were some tough spots," Carter-Williams said. "It was my first time getting traded. I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't know what my teammates were thinking. They lost one of their teammates, too [Brandon Knight, in the trade]. . . . We're all on the same page now and we're definitely now all adjusted."

Bucks coach Jason Kidd, who was traded from Dallas to Phoenix during the 1996-1997 season after sharing rookie of the year with Grant Hill, also has noticed a difference in his starting point guard.

"Just that he's comfortable," Kidd said. "I think confidence and he's comfortable with his new teammates. Any time there's a midseason trade, it's hard no matter what level player you are. It's hard. And you can see his confidence level has grown."

Sixers coach Brett Brown agreed that the first trip back to a player's former arena can be emotional. "You see it all the time," Brown said. "It's a difficult environment and Michael is strong within himself and within his abilities. He's had some great games lately. . . . We'll all look forward to saying hello to him and wishing him luck as he goes on as a starting point guard for a playoff team."

As for the reception from Philadelphia fans, "I'm not sure," Carter-Williams said. "I really don't know. It's going to be interesting to see. I'll be happy to be back there. It's going to be fun.

"I know I wasn't there for too long, so I don't expect anything. I'm just going to go there and just play my game."