Few players have been as frustrating to analyze over the past two years as Michael Carter-Williams. After an incredible start, including a stunning first game in which he put up 22 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds and nine steals, leading the lowly Sixers to an unlikely victory over the defending champion Miami Heat, MCW looked unstoppable. At that moment, it was hard not to wonder if he was going to become a superstar.
In the time since then, things have changed dramatically. As MCW’s rookie season went along, the inherent flaws in his game became all-too apparent. Mainly, he’s the worst shooting point guard not named Ricky Rubio in the NBA, and while his raw stats looked impressive, a lot of that was because the Sixers simply had no one else to turn to, and, well, someone had to score. MCW was forced into being a first option, and without any players to mentor him, he took bad shots, developed bad habits, and the worst aspects of his game were brought to the forefront.
Upon being traded to the Bucks at the deadline last season, things did look up. MCW’s field goal percentage increased considerably, as he shot .429 with the Bucks compared to .380 with the Sixers. Undoubtedly, this was a consequence of not having to carry an offense anymore. With quality scorers like Khris Middleton and Ersan Ilyasova flanking him, MCW was no longer forcing up terrible shots because his team lacked better better offensive options. His woeful range remains a problem, as he managed to shoot even worse on threes in Milwaukee, but after becoming a Buck, MCW started taking smarter shots, most likely for the simple reason that he finally had the opportunity to do so. Now, we’ll see what happens to his game after spending time working with Bucks staff, and head coach Jason Kidd, in particular.