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Untapped Potential: Michael Carter-Williams

Ed Szczepanski / USA TODAY Sports

This is another edition of Back Sports Page’s Untapped Potential series. The focus of today’s article will be on former NBA point guard Michael Carter-Williams. The last entry to our series was on Jeremy Lin thanks to our colleague Patrick Yen.

Promising Start

Carter-Williams became the eleventh selection in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers after attending college at Syracuse. The Orangemen’s play style was comparable at the time to that of a younger Russell Westbrook.

The 6’5″ point guard was surprisingly athletic, and capable at the time of posting triple-double numbers every night. Carter-Williams almost tallied a triple-double in his first career game against the Miami Heat on Oct. 30th, 2013, with a stat-line of 22 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds, and 9 steals. Carter-Williams took home the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, averaging 17 ppg, 6 rpg and 6 apg.

Injuries And Career Fall Apart

A shoulder surgery cost the young guard a few games early in the 2014-15 campaign. However, after returning, Carter-Williams’ numbers started to fall off after returning and was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. Offensively, the athletic point guards style was fading away with the league moving towards floor spacing and a reliable three-point shot being a necessity at his position.

Carter-Williams tore his hip labrum in March of 2016 with the Bucks. MCW was dealt to the Chicago Bulls early in the 2016-17 season after some up-and-down play on the Bucks. Carter-Williams’ numbers were never the same, only averaging 7 ppg, 3 rpg, and 3 apg with the Bulls.

The guards production continued to free-fall after signing with the Charlotte Hornets before tearing a shoulder labrum in March of 2018. Carter-Williams never did find his shooting form in the NBA, finishing his career with paltry shooting splits 40.2/25.5/70.6. Numbers don’t always tell the story of a career.

Where is Carter-Williams Now?

Carter-Williams was a key part of the Orlando Magic playoff runs during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. MCW also began an NFT venture, DeFi Crypto Connections with partners Brooks Brown and Austin Greishober.

Carter-Williams is the eldest of five children in his family. Funnily enough, his parents were college basketball players of their own at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts.

What if Carter-Williams could’ve developed an effective outside shot? What would his career have looked like? Could Carter-Williams still be playing in the NBA today?

Carter-Williams had the athleticism that made him a triple-double threat each night but his battles with injuries and his inability to adjust to the modern NBA ultimately was his downfall.

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