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Jun 27 2013

Michael Carter-Williams: ‘Me and Nerlens are best friends’

IMG_1496Michael Carter-Williams knows replacing Jrue Holiday won’t be an easy task. But it’s one he says he’s up to.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself and Philadelphia has a lot of confidence in me,” the point guard told a group of reporters moments after the Sixers made him the No. 11 overall pick.

“Offensively, I have a point guard mindset. On the defensive end I’m going to be able to defend two or three positions. Either way, basketball is basketball.”

Carter said that he’s no stranger to pressure either, as, at a relatively young age, he assumed a great deal of responsibility for the Orangemen when several players left the team after his freshman season.

Granted, the results were mixed. Carter was very effective in transition during his two years with Syracuse, but struggled as a shooter and a caretaker of the basketball; two troubling liabilities for a point guard. According to Draft Express, Carter-Williams ranked last among all the backcourt prospects they evaluated with 0.746 points per-possession–just 0.683 in the half court–and ranked second to last with a 22.1% turnover rate. He said he recognizes his weaknesses and is taking steps to ameliorate them.

“I’ve been working on my overall game. I’ve been working on my shooting,” he said, adding that, while he recognizes the NBA game moves at a wildly different pace than the Big East, he’s a “fast learner.”

Carter-Williams also revealed that when he and Nerlens Noel take the court for the Sixers this upcoming season, it’ll be a reunion of sorts for the pair.

“Me and Nerlens grew up together. We’re best friends  We played on the same AAU team together in high school. It’s like a dream come true. We always talked about how we were both going to make it to the NBA. For us to make it on the same team is a blessing.”

He added that he thinks Noel’s draft night slide might galvanize the Wildcat.

“I was surprised he went six, but that’s how things end up. It was menat to be. I’m sure he has a chip on his shoulder now, but maybe that’s what he needed to be great in the NBA.”

Time will tell. But after a lost season, and maybe a lost decade, for the 76ers the future is now.