The Sixers kicked off their presumably miserable 2013-14 season in the Wells Fargo Center, where they welcomed the defending NBA champion Miami Heat. That was where the Sixers’ new General Manager, Sam Hinkie, took in his first regular season Sixers action.
Hinkie settled into his red-cushioned seat to watch the Sixers likely fall to LeBron James and company just before tip-off, admiring the promising rebuilding project he and Brett Brown have taken on so aggressively.
The Sixers were, and still are, expected by many to be the worst team in the entire NBA this season. Nobody on the Liberty Ballers staff predicted this beautiful bunch of mostly first-round castoffs to win more than 24 games this winter.
But the Sixers did the improbable. They opened up the season with a 19-0 run over the Miami Heat and the greatest player of the generation. They would go on to defeat Miami 114-110. The Sixers are now UNDEFEATED in the 2013-2014 season and the professional basketball world has been formally introduced to one Michael Carter-Williams.
MCW has been heavily critiqued and analyzed by bloggers and fans alike. It started on Draft night, then continued during a turnover-prone Summer League and the negative hype carried into the start of training camp.
He can’t shoot. He’s too slow. He’s not a franchise point guard. He won’t make it at the next level.
Hi haters, how does 22 points, 12 assists, 9 steals, 7 rebounds and only 1 turnover sound? What about 6-10 shooting from the field, 4-6 shooting from three, and 6-8 from the line? What about his animated post-game celebration in the corner of the court that mirrored Allen Iverson—who happened to announce his retirement that afternoon—during the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals?
MCW’s 9 steals were the most by any player in in their career debut in NBA history. His 12 assists were the second-most by any player in their career debut in NBA history. He is just the third player in NBA history with at least 22 points, 12 assists 9 steals and 7 rebounds in a game, the first since Johnny Moore in 1985.
Yeah, it’s one game, but it felt special.
MCW was the clear floor general for the Sixers, but he meshed well with the team’s veterans like Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes. He gave way to Thad Young when it was time to get his.
"You see what he can bring on a big stage," Brown said following the game.
Celebrate this victory tonight, as there may not be many more this season. And celebrate Carter-Williams' elegant performance. But, unlike the victory, there’s no reason why we can’t expect MCW to continue to impress this year.
Not a bad start, rook.