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Sixers Show Commitment to Michael Carter-Williams on NBA Draft Night

By keeping Michael Carter-Williams in Philadelphia on Draft night, Sam Hinkie and the Sixers showed their faith in the Rookie of the Year as a franchise cornerstone. For now...

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Imagine you're seven years old.

It's a few days into second grade and you're finally feeling at home. First grade was a rough year for you. Your mom bought you the 24-pack of crayons while the rest of the class had the 48-pack. Your stupid limited color supply didn't even have Macaroni Yellow. What gives?

But one day, out of nowhere, your parents sit you and your two siblings down and break the news you're moving to a new house in a new town with new people. Your dad took a new job that promised to be a greater opportunity for your family.

Then a year after settling in to your new town, dad's work moves your family again. And now, in your third house in as many years, you've got no friends and no sense of assurance if you'll ever stay grounded in one home for more than one year at a time. That's no way for a child to grow up.

Well, the Sixers assured their fan base they'll be grounded in their franchise building plan for another year on Thursday night. No, not by drafting Joel Embiid and Dario Saric and again preaching patience, but by keeping Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams in Philly.

After trading their lone All-Stars in Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday in subsequent years, the Sixers very well could have swapped MCW for an additional first round pick. You saw him on ESPN's broadcast, he was walking on basketball-sized eggshells in the Barclays Center. Whoever forced that man to take a picture with Elfrid Payton, the youngster whom MCW likely thought was his replacement, deserves to be locked in a sweltering hot basement, forced to watch Andy Reid press conferences on a never-ending loop with only filthy, warm water to drink.

This by no means assures MCW will remain a Sixer. While pursuing trade options for Thaddeus Young this season, Hinkie could feasibly receive an offer that includes dealing him at a price far greater than he deems him worth. And then this article will be irrelevant.

But right now, with the fanbase seemingly split in half on whether to wholeheartedly believe in "the process", keeping MCW as the point guard of this franchise is vital for this city's sanity. Next season won't be nearly as tumultuous as last. Today's haters are severely underrating how exciting it will be to see a fully healthy, eager Nerlens Noel racing up and down the floor. Still, MCW, despite all his deficiencies, has proven to be a rock that can shoulder a tanktastic load for an entire 82 games.

He handles the media with class and poise. He never takes credit for anything on the court, always deferring his success to his teammates and his coaches. I've heard some in the organization question his leadership capabilities through thick and thin, but nobody within the 76ers has strong doubts about the kid's mental toughness and work ethic.

MCW is the guy you want on your "Building the Next Thing for Philadelphia" blueprint handout to potential season ticket holders. Having a solid point guard is likely the most recognizable building block to the casual fan.

And that role is his most important: Being a floor general. We can talk about Embiid and Noel and Pierre Jackson and K.J. McDaniels and even Hollis Thompson's developments as keys to the Sixers' future championship aspirations, but those players' progressions ultimately hinge on how well MCW can orchestrate Brett Brown's offense. Even in this age of two-point guard sets, your primary ball handler truly sets the tone for your team on the court.

Just look at how lacking at the point guard position killed the Miami Heat in the Finals.

MCW is crucial to the Sixers' future no matter if you thought or still think Dante Exum will be a better point guard one day. Keeping MCW in Philly sends a message to the entire organization: we're not moving to another house in another town for the third-straight year, we're planting our flag here.

Sure, MCW still isn't 100 percent safe, but as Hinkie said in Friday's presser: "We talked about that last year with Michael: We feel like he's a player we can grow with and we still feel that way."

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