Rookie Michael Carter-Williams (left) has been compared frequently to Shaun Livingston. (USA Today Images)
Michael Carter-Williams will be learning on the job.
Given the responsibilities of any point guard -- let alone one new to the NBA -- patience will be required on the part of both Carter-Williams and Sixers fans.
Other point guards before him have had remarkable first seasons. Last year, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lilliard started all 82 games, averaged 19 points and 6.5 assists and was named rookie of the year. A couple years back, Derrick Rose had similar rookie numbers and also earned rookie of the year honors.
Neither Lillard nor Rose played on great teams their rookie seasons. That will be the case for Carter-Williams, too. The Sixers, as we know, are young and rebuilding. Still, he will have an opportunity to develop his game given the minutes he will play as well as new head coach Brett Brown's background in player development.
So what does Brown have to work with in his prized point guard when training camp gets underway? The consensus among NBA personnel is that Carter-Williams is Shaun Livingston-like. Livingston was long and lanky at six-foot-7. Carter-Williams is 6-foot-6. Both have been known for their lightning-quick first step, ability to see over defenders, and presence as solid playmakers despite poor shooting skills.
Livingston averaged 27 minutes per game as a rookie along with 7.4 points and five assists, but he appeared in just 30 games. But he played on a roster filled with veterans. By his third season, Livingston was playing 30 minutes a night, starting 31 of the first 54 games, averaging 9.3 points and five assists.
Livingston played an exciting style of basketball that people wanted to come and see. Some compared his passing skills Magic Johnson's, others used his name in the same sentence as Rajon Rondo's, because of their speed and pass-first mentality.
Now, some of you reading this may be saying, “Livingston became a bust.” Truth be told, his career is not over, it just changed dramatically when he broke his left knee in February 2007.
When people say Carter-Williams is Livingston-like, they remember the potential they saw in the kid selected fourth-overall in 2004 -- a kid who had an NBA All-Star future.