Through everything, Carter-Williams has remained remarkably consistent, considering the changes the Sixers have gone through.
He leads all rookies in the big four statistical categories — points (16.6), assists (6.2), rebounds (6.1) and steals (1.9). According to NBA.com, he’s fifth in rebounding among guards (that is, if you consider Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and P.J. Tucker guards).
He was recently named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for March, his third time collecting that honor. He’s the first Sixer to earn that distinction three times, and he remains the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year accolades, although Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo has closed the gap over the second half of the season.
To put Carter-Williams’ rookie season in perspective, there are only two players in the league currently averaging at least 16 points, six rebounds and six assists: him and LeBron James.
“He doesn’t worry about (the stats); everyone else talks about it. I’m a big Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick guy, and Parcells always said stats are for losers,” Zach Zegarowski, Carter-Williams’ stepfather, said. “They’re for other people to talk about. It’s about winning, competing and getting better. If you compete and play hard, the stats are going to be there.”
Zegarowski has traveled back and forth between Hamilton and Philadelphia this season. By his estimation, he’s spent about 80 percent of his time since September 15 with Carter-Williams in Philadelphia. He’s been most impressed with MCW’s commitment to getting better.
“I’m real proud of his effort and engagement. It’s the highest level of basketball; it’s difficult every night and he’s been engaged mentally. That’s the best thing to see,” Zegarowski said. “Michael gets there early and stays late, doing his therapy and watching film.
“There’s a lot of good stuff going on. The record doesn’t show it, but from a basketball standpoint it’s been a good year. Stats-wise it’s been a good year, but more importantly he’s playing better basketball.”