Sixers pull off the unthinkable in their season opener
Magic Johnson (left) and Michael Carter-Williams have the same career number of nine-steal games. (USA Today Images)
The Sixers' 114-110 upstaging of the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night came mere hours after an emotional retirement press conference from the first and only player in franchise history to ever be named Rookie of the Year.
One NBA legend thinks they'll have a second when awards are announced in May.
Michael Carter-Williams had an historic debut with Allen Iverson in the house, going for 22 points, seven rebounds, 12 assists and nine steals, all while committing just one turnover. Carter-Williams was the first player since 1985-86 to piece together that stat line, and Magic Johnson took notice.
I just got done watching the guy I think will be the Rookie of The Year, Michael Carter-Williams of the 76ers.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) October 31, 2013
Carter-Williams made his presence felt on both the offensive and defensive ends, blowing up the passing lanes all night and pulling a huge rebound away from Heat power forward Chris Bosh in the closing minutes. He fell a steal shy of a triple-double, and was dangerously close to a quadruple-double.
If anyone knows a thing or two about stat-stuffing it's Magic, whose 138 triple-doubles are second most in NBA history. In one night, Carter-Williams equaled the Hall of Famer's career total of nine-steal games at one. Johnson did it on Nov. 6, 1981, against the Phoenix Suns.
As far as that Rookie of the Year projection? Carter-Williams will certainly have the minutes and opportunities to capture such an award. Iverson took home the honor in 1996-97. In the last eight seasons, four point guards have been named Rookie of the Year -- Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard.