MCW accepts ROY award, looks ahead to 2014-15

by Max Rappaport Writer

Standing before family and friends, his coaches, a hoard of reporters, and nearly 100 Sixers employees, Michael Carter-Williams was his usual, bright self. He thanked everyone in attendance, smiling broadly as he accepted the Kia Rookie of the Year award that had been decided by near-unanimous decision. 

For the 22-year-old, it’s a dream come true, to have his name etched into the NBA annals alongside the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. He understands the gravity of the achievement, but he also understands that the legacies of those aforementioned players were built largely upon team success, not individual accolades.

“This game is about winning,” said Carter-Williams. “[Rookie of the Year] is great, it’s greatly appreciated, but I’d definitely trade this award in in a second to be in the playoffs.”

For now, the young point guard watches the games from home, studying opposing point guards and the minutiae of a sport that his head coach, Brett Brown, tells him changes drastically when the calendar flips from April to May. As he watches, he can’t help but envision himself one day playing on the sport’s largest stage.

“A lot of people, once they receive an award or achieve something, they kind of coast a little bit and relax, and that’s not something I want to do,” he said. “I want to keep getting better each and every season and bring something new every single season like the great ones did.”

Guiding him along in that process is Brown, who in just nine short months has formed a lasting bond with the rookie point guard. 

“I'm not a person that really trusts a lot of people. My circle is really close, especially when it comes to basketball,” said Carter-Williams. “[But] I have a lot of trust in Coach just from going through this whole year, him really being on my back about every little thing, on the court and off the court… I really look up to him and appreciate what he does every single day.”

Going into next season alongside his newfound mentor, a longtime friend and fellow lottery selection in Nerlens Noel, potentially two additional lottery picks in June’s draft, and an ownership group and front office relentlessly determined to build a winner for the city of Philadelphia, Carter-Williams can’t help but feel excited.

“We all want it. We have a group of guys who want to get better, and we’ve got guys coming in that are going to be good and are going to see how we do things here,” he said. “I think the future is bright for us.”