Michael Carter-Williams debuts with a bang in Sixers’ season-opening win over Heat
It took just 23 seconds for Sixers rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams to make the first basket of his career — a strong two-handed dunk in transition — and he never looked back, turning in one of the best debut performances in NBA history.
The No. 11 pick finished with 22 points (on 6-of-10 shooting), 12 assists, seven rebounds and nine steals in 36 minutes as the Sixers surprised the Heat 114-110 on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Carter-Williams even provided a pair of game-sealing free-throws with eight seconds remaining. Needless to say, the Syracuse product was pleased with his first day on the job.
“It couldn’t have gone any better,” Carter-Williams said, according to Syracuse.com. “I was all excited up in here. I’ll be excited tonight, celebrate with my family and then back to work tomorrow.”
To put Carter-Williams’ video game numbers into historical perspective (with the help of Basketball-Reference.com) …
- No player — rookie or otherwise — has matched that stat line (points, assists, rebounds and steals) in any game since 1985. ESPN Stats & Information notes that it’s been achieved only twice in NBA history.
- Carter-Williams’ nine steals are the most for a player in his debut.
- No other player has scored 22 points and dished 12 assists in a debut since 1985.
- Carter-Williams’ nine steals tied a Sixers franchise record and are the most in any NBA game since Wizards guard John Wall had nine in November 2010.
- Carter-Williams’ 22 points were the most by a Sixers player making his debut since Allen Iverson scored 30 points in 1996.
- Only four other players since 1985 have managed to register a double/double in points and assists in their debut (Damian Lillard, Spud Webb, Jason Kidd and Damon Stoudamire).
- Only six other players since 1985 have managed 20 points/5 rebounds/5 assists in their debut (Willie Anderson, Grant Hill, LeBron James, Steve Smith, Tom Gugliotta and Hersey Hawkins).
“It’s just an unbelievable moment, the team played great,” Carter-Williams said in a postgame interview with CSN Philly. “The crowd was awesome, I was excited. I’m just glad we came up with the win.”
Portland’s Lillard kicked off his 2013 Rookie of the Year campaign with 23 points, 11 assists and three rebounds in a home victory over the Lakers. Carter-Williams’ night against the two-time defending champions erased any doubt as to whose name will appear at the top of this week’s Rookie of the Year rankings.
”I couldn’t think of a better way to start your NBA career,” reigning MVP James said afterward.