BOSTON — The list is a virtual who’s who of NBA greats both current and former, containing a couple of Hall of Famers and several sure-fire future Hall of Famers.
Magic Johnson. Oscar Robertson. Shaquille O’Neal. Dwyane Wade. Chris Paul. Allen Iverson.
Somehow, through one statistical avenue or another, Hamilton’s Michael Carter-Williams has found his place on that list only 35 games into his NBA career.
Last night Carter-Williams enjoyed the first homecoming of his rookie season as the Philadelphia 76ers handed the Boston Celtics their fourth straight loss with a 95-94 decision.
Carter-Williams may not have had his best statistical game, shooting just 4-of-14 from the floor. But many of his diverse talents were on display last night as he finished with 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds, none bigger than the carom he corralled with less than 15 seconds to play.
Carter-Williams ripped the ball down in traffic, pushed the ball upcourt and handed off to Evan Turner, who drove to the hoop for the game-winning basket.
A successful homecoming, indeed.
“First, I wanted to get the rebound. That’s the biggest part of it. The whole possession was us getting the rebound and getting a chance to get a shot,” Carter-Williams said.
“It was great playing in front of (family and friends). I hope they come out here and support me whenever I come down here and play. I’m thankful for it and had a great time.”
The 6-foot-6 point guard out of Syracuse has taken the NBA by storm since the 76ers scooped him up with the 11th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft last June.
Carter-Williams’ draft class was considered to be weak by experts, with very few players projected to become league stars. Carter-Williams’ early performance has clearly suggested otherwise. He leads all rookies in per game averages for points (17.4), rebounds (5.6), assists (6.7), steals (2.41) and minutes (34.8). He’s third in the entire NBA in steals, and was invited to All-Star Weekend as part of the Rising Stars showcase.