PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Carter-Williams has something to show for being a bright spot in a dismal season for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Carter-Williams won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award on Monday after becoming only the third player since 1950-51 to lead all rookies in scoring (16.7), rebounding (6.3) and assists (6.2). Oscar Robertson (1960-61) and Alvan Adams (1975-76) were the others.
Despite the performance of their dynamic guard, the Sixers were awful this season. They were 19-73 and tied an NBA record by losing 26 straight games.
“I’d definitely trade this award to be in the playoffs in a second,” Carter-Williams said. “Coaches tell me to watch the playoffs to look at how different the game is and I do see it. It’s a whole different season. This game is about winning. I hope I set a positive example about leading your team in a good way no matter what. I hope guys that come in know the core of this team takes things seriously and we want to build something special.”
Carter-Williams received 104 of a possible 124 first-place votes. The Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo finished second and Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz was third.
“Michael made an immediate impact on the court this season, but his dedication, professionalism and contributions to both the organization and the Philadelphia community make him all the more deserving of this award,” Sixers owner Josh Harris said in a statement. “This is an incredibly proud moment for the 76ers and one we are thrilled to share with him, the city and our fans.”
Allen Iverson is the only other player in Sixers history to win the award. The 11th overall pick from Syracuse in last year’s draft, Carter-Williams is the first player picked 10th or lower to win since Mark Jackson did it in 1987 for New York.
“Michael performed and represented the Sixers organization this past season in a manner befitting of the 2013-14 NBA Rookie of the Year,” said co-managing owner David Blitzer. “He never stopped working from the moment he burst onto the national scene in our home opener through the final horn at last game of the season, and we are proud to congratulate him on this well-deserved award.”
Carter-Williams had a spectacular debut, posting 22 points, 12 assists and nine steals to lead the Sixers to a stunning 114-110 victory over the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. He was the second rookie after Shaquille O’Neill to be the Eastern Conference Player of the Week in his first week in the NBA.
“By opening night, it was clear to us that Michael belonged,” Sixers President Sam Hinkie said. “This award marks a lifetime of hard work. … We congratulate him on this unique achievement and look forward to helping him put in the work necessary to garner even greater success in the future.”
First-year coach Brett Brown had enough confidence in Carter-Williams to give him the responsibility of leading the team on the court. They traded away All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to clear the way for Carter-Williams.
With an eye toward the future, the Sixers traded Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen in February. They have a 19.9 percent chance at getting the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft and are also owed New Orleans’ lottery pick – unless the Pelicans win a top-3 pick. With possibly two first-round selections, Carter-Williams and 2013 lottery pick Nerlens Noel returning from a knee injury, the Sixers could be a contender soon.
“When I first got here, I really didn’t know what to expect,” Carter-Williams said. “I am not a person that trusts a lot of people. My circle is really close, especially when it comes to basketball, because everyone has an opinion. But I have a lot of trust in coach Brown.”