The 15/5/5 Club
As of Sunday there are five players in the NBA averaging at least 15 points 5 rebounds and 5 assists. I know those numbers are arbitrary, but I think they are a fairly good qualifier to find the players that contribute across the board. 4 of the 5 players that meet the criteria are in the photo above. The one guy in the photo that doesn’t belong is Carmelo. Shocking I know given the Knicks gong show of a season. So with that knowledge the question becomes who is the 5th player. That 5th member of the 15/5/5 Club is Philadelphia 76er Michael Carter-Williams. Impressive company to be a part of for the young buck. After Saturday’s loss to the Pacers MCW is averaging 17.3 points, 7.4 assists, and 5.7 rebounds. To go along with those gaudy rookie numbers MCW is also averaging 3 steals a game and just shy of a block per game. MCW’s numbers are aided somewhat by the fact that the Sixers currently lead the league in number of possessions per 48 minutes at an even 102. However both the Clippers and Thunder are averaging just below 100 so the difference isn’t really that much. Additionally there are plenty of other star players whose teams are averaging over 100 possessions who don’t meet the threshold like Harden and Love.
After the hysteria of the Sixers 3-0 start died and MCW missing a couple games with an arch issue some of the national spotlight faded from the rookie. But as the numbers show that shouldn’t be the case at all. It’s been said but it bears repeating MCW leads all rookies in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and is 5th in blocks. He’s looking more and more like a winning lottery ticket. Another part of his game worth mentioning is that he’s averaging 3.4 turnovers per game, which is better than all the previously mentioned guys except Paul, who is the best PG in the league. MCW is averaging a full turnover less than James Harden (said to be the best SG in the game right now), whose Rockets most closely resemble the Sixers breakneck style.
There are certainly areas of his game MCW could improve upon. For starters he’s shooting only 67% from the free throw line. On Saturday Carter-Williams did a great job of getting to the line, but only went 6-11 when he got there. That’s great for DeAndre Jordan, but not so much for starting point guards. The bigger issue though is his 40% shooting from the field. His field goal percentage hasn’t been brought down due to his 3 point shooting as many scouts expected. He’s shooting just below the league average at 36%. Where MCW has struggled some is finishing around the rim on his drives. According to SportsVu he’s currently making only 42% of his shots on drives, something that he does on average 6.6 times per game. His 42% on drives puts him in the lower half of players who make a habit of going to the rim. To compare Lebron leads all players in FG% on drives at 68.8%. Learning the nuances of finishing around the rim are something that MCW will learn with more time in the league, like his teammate Evan Turner who is making 60% of his shots on drives to the basket. Couple the poor finishing with a mid-range game that is a work in progress at best and you get some inefficient shooting numbers. All of this is correctable though and if MCW puts in the work to improve the Sixers could have a upper echelon point guard on their roster.