Michael Carter-Williams' Sixers debut was nothing short of scintillating. He dropped 22 points on 10 shots, 12 assists and nine steals -- the latest a record for a rookie's first NBA game -- to lift a team with Vegas' lowest over/under win total in a decade to a 114-110 win over the two-time defending World Champion Heat that was much more lopsided than the score suggests.
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But, you could argue, that wasn't his biggest contribution.
Consider how Williams, the Sixers No. 11 overall pick this year, elevated the play of his teammates, two in particular.
Evan Turner sank 26 points on 19 shots, something he'd done only four times prior in his 226 game career.
Spencer Hawes stuck 24 points on 14 shots. Had never done that before in a single game in six NBA seasons.
These links offer an idea of the type of players capable of that efficiency. Also worth noting: last year's Sixers, with Jrue Holiday at the point, punched only nine games like Turner's last night, and only one like Hawes'.
Sure, Turner and Hawes deserve credit for their singular efforts. As does new head coach Brett Brown, who may know stuff about this basketball thing. It was just one game, and a consummate trap game for the Heat, something Brown conceded afterward. Dwyane Wade didn't play, leaving someone named Roger Mason Jr. responsible for guarding Turner. Blah, blah, blah.
But on a night the Sixers honored Allen Iverson, inarguably one of the greatest talent's in Philadelphia sports history, but also one whose style dictated that he be the NBA leader in field goal attempts four times in 12 seasons and in the top five in 10, it's worth noting the benefit of a distributor, creator, enhancer. A "make everybody better" guy.
That's what MCW was last night, what the Sixers need him to be throughout what looks like it has a chance to be a promising career. At least if you put any stock in where his 12 assists in his debut last night ranks in league history:
Most Assists in Career Debut - NBA History
|1973||Ernie DiGregorio BUF||14|
|Tonight||Michael Carter-Williams PHI||12|
|2012||Damian Lillard POR||11|
|1994||Jason Kidd DAL||11|
|1981||Isiah Thomas DET||11|
|1978||Maurice Cheeks PHI||11|
|*Source: Elias Sports Bureau|
So enjoy all of this...
What a debut for Michael Carter Williams. Simply amazing! 22 points, 9 rebounds, 12 assists & 9 steals. The @Sixers upset the Heat 114-110.
— NBA (@NBA) October 31, 2013
"He had a great game, couldn't think of a better way to start your NBA career." - LeBron on Michael Carter-Williams' big night — Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) October 31, 2013
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
Suggested nickname for Michael Carter-Williams after his nine steals -- The "Rook Crook." How rare was that? http://t.co/W4Ll5cfekB
— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) October 31, 2013
...and, definitely, this...
Michael Carter-Williams EXPLODES onto NBA scene in an upset over Heat. 9 steals are most EVER for rookie in a debut. pic.twitter.com/5hJflMBiUd
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 31, 2013
...but remember, MCW's biggest contribution to this team will be his ability to lift the play of those around him. Hopefully starting next season.
video via TBL