There will be a lot more losing before things start looking up in Philadelphia. and 6.3 apg, but he shot just 26.4 percent from behind the arc and wasn’t all that much better when he wasn’t within three feet of the basket. On shots outside that highly close range, Carter-Williams was successful a mere 32.4 percent of the time. Although he is the reigning ROY, fans should remember that the 2013 Draft was considered historically poor and Carter-Williams’ numbers were inflated with the Sixers’ fast pace (someone had to score points for a very bad team). MCW might be perceived as the team’s main weapon, but he’ll have to improve his shooting dramatically if he is going to be a point man on a playoff team. He’ll play beside Tony Wroten, who is only too willing to score. Wroten put up 13.0 ppg last year and took 11.2 shots a game in just over 24 minutes of play per outing. Without any of last year’s veterans (Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes) around, Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images expect Wroten’s wrist to be even more active this season. Don’t expect too much long-range success, though; Wroten is a worse three-point marksman (.213) than Carter-Williams. The Sixers owe veteran wing Jason Richardson for another season, but his bad knee will likely limit his playing time mightily if not altogether. That’s a pity, since when healthy, he was a real scoring weapon. Finding points from the rest of the roster will be difficult indeed. Although the Sixers are touting the potential of rookie forward Noel, who sat out last year while rehabbing a knee injury suffered while in college, he is more likely to make an impact defensively and on the backboards than with the ball in his hands. His offensive skills are rudimentary and not expected to improve drastically. Pivot Henry Sims has the potential to put up double figures on occasion, and wing Hollis Thompson showed last year that he can score inside and out last year, although large outbursts are not forecast regularly for him this season. Expect plenty of poor shooting nights and the occasional big night from either Carter-Williams or Wroten. Totaled, this will amount to many blowouts at the hands of good opponents. Outlook In a word: Grim. The Sixers will likely not win as many games as they did last year. They may challenge the NBA record for fewest triumphs in a full season, set by the franchise’s own fetid, 1972-73 squad. The only thing that might save them from that fate is that rivals could well rest their best players against Philadelphia, in the hope of stealing a victory without having to subject their stars to another night of the NBA grind. But nobody seems to care about this in Sixerland. The team is committed to being as bad as it can be, and the League’s recent refusal to change the Draft Lottery laws means that Philly can continue to reek without any consequence. The goal is to be good in three or four years, and if the franchise can stay afloat without much fan interest and by selling future prosperity, then it will have succeeded. SPOTLIGHT: Michael Carter-Williams When the Sixers made some dramatic moves on Draft Day 2013, they did so to set themselves up for the future. That meant parting with point guard Jrue Holiday, an All-Star with an extremely reasonable contract and upside, was out, and Carter-Williams was in. If a team interested in contending at that moment made the deal, it would have been criticized heavily. For the Sixers, who had decided the best way to improve the roster was to jettison every asset of value. Holiday was out. Carter-Williams was in. After a Rookie of the Year debut, Carter-Williams must now prove that he is worthy of the award. He has to develop into an NBA point guard capable of leading a team that can win. To do that, he has to become more capable of shooting the basketball beyond three feet from the basket, where he struggled mightily. Even teams that lose 63 games have to score 80 or 90 points a game. That means Carter-Williams’ 16.7 ppg, while impressive from a purely statistical point of view, may not mean much when it comes to winning games. In fact, the Sixers considered trading Carter-Williams during the offseason and still might do so this year, particularly if it looks like they may end up with talented point man Emmanuel Mudiay in the coming draft. This is a big year for Carter-Williams, who must prove he is worthy of having a starring role in the Sixers’ long-term plans. Otherwise, he could be sent away, just as Holiday was, to make room for the next young player in the Sixers’ master plan.
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