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Michael Carter-Williams has historic debut with 76ers

The rookie out of Syracuse delivered a scoring line that would be jaw-dropping for anyone, let alone a guy making his pro debut.

Mitchell Leff

Michael Carter-Williams came to the Philadelphia 76ers with high expectations. He was, after all, a lottery pick. But no one could have seen his professional debut coming.

The rookie scored 22 points, dished out 12 assists, had nine steals and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a surprising 114-110 win over the defending-champion Miami Heat. His nine steals were a record for a player making his NBA debut.

Carter-Williams recorded his first steal less than 30 seconds into the game, setting the tone for the night by taking it coast-to-coast for this dunk:


The dunks and the stats are staggering enough, but just how impressive was Carter-Williams' first game?

Well, it was nearly unparalleled.

Damian Lillard had perhaps the best pro debut for a point guard up until Wednesday night. He had been the only rookie point guard since 1963 to record a double-double and score at least 20 points in his first game. Last year he totaled 23 points, 11 assists and three rebounds to start his career in Portland. He kept the play up throughout the year en route to unanimous Rookie of the Year honors.

Before Lillard, you'd have to go back to Hersey Hawkins in 1988. He opened his career with 20 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals for Philadelphia against the Clippers.

Both were great performances, but neither quite matched Williams, who happened to have his opening outburst against the team most are picking to end the season with a three-peat.

Oh, and he turned the ball over just once in 36 minutes.

Carter-Williams' game was historic not just for a rookie, but for anyone. Only two players in NBA history have had as many points, rebounds, assists and steals as he did. Ricky Green had a line of 26-12-9-7 for Utah in 1982 and Johnny Moore had 26-13-9-11 for the San Antonio Spurs in 1985, according to ESPN.

The numbers speak for themselves, but looking at how Carter-Williams got there adds yet another layer to his accomplishment.

The biggest criticism of the Syracuse product was that he could not score. Carter-Williams, who stands tall for a point guard at 6'6, shot 39 percent last year for the Orange and less than 30 percent from three. On Wednesday, he was 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-6 from long range:


Carter-Williams will have a day to rest before the 76ers visit Washington on Friday night.

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