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Michael Carter-Williams and the ‘new’ reality of basketball


I’m sorry this may piss off my Syracuse-loving friends. No, there’s nothing really “new” about this new reality. It’s been a longtime in motion. The college hoops I grew up  is gone. Underclassmen sticking around is much more a story than those leaving these days. And, yes, there are much “worse” examples of folks declaring and darting early than Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams. Still, it brings it home for me. In short, really?? NO, REALLY!!???

Carter-Williams is heading to the NBA Draft after two seasons at Syracuse. He is projected to be a top 10 pick. I still can’t get over this stuff. MCW is certainly an intriguing prospect, but no matter how common this has become I still struggle with it. Here’s a guy who’s a combo guard. A kid with a good knack for distributing the ball and some unquestionable play-making ability. He also has a scorer’s streak that gets scouts jazzed. There is talent there. That’s undeniable.

That said, let’s look at this for realsies for two seconds. He’s got a long, lean frame, but the kid’s still clearly underdeveloped physically. He put up perfectly solid 12 PPG and an impressive 7 and change dimes per contest this year. Good stuff for a sophomore. A nice young, college player. Under the brightest lights of the NCAA title game and an aggressive, quick, athletic Louisville defense, here was MCW’s statline:

1-6 from the field

0-2 from three

5 boards

2 assists

2 points

5 fouls

This is a sophomore superstar ready for the next level? Apparently, the superstar part is relative these days. MCW is ready based on the trends. Hell, his old teammate Dion Waiters put up similarly above-average-but-not-mind-blowing stats during his sophomore campaign at the ‘Cuse. What happened? Waiters was snagged by the Cavs with the fourth overall pick  in last year’s draft. What’s more is that he’s started almost 50 games in Cleveland and is averaging nearly 15 PPG during his rookie campaign. So, what the hell do I know (although I know putting up big numbers in Cleveland can be misleading nowadays).

I just know it doesn’t seem right…and it’s not going to change…and I’m just going to have to deal with it. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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