By JOSH NEWMAN
Special to ZAGSBLOG
ORLANDO – At some point next season, once Nerlens Noel is all the way back from a torn left ACL, he and new Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams will team up in the City of Brotherly Love.
Carter-Williams isn’t just happy to be playing with an athletic, defensive-minded power forward, but also the kid he deems his best friend.
Carter-Williams and Noel are both Boston natives and both played their AAU ball for BABC. The two have spoken since the NBA Draft on June 27, but not about basketball.
“I was just wondering how he was doing with his knee, but we didn’t talk about anything too long-term because nothing is really definite right now,” Carter-Williams said after he scored 26 point to go along with eight assists, seven rebounds and nine turnovers in the Sixers’ 88-80 loss to the Houston Rockets at the Orlando Summer League. “I spoke to him, but not much about basketball. He’s one of my best friends, so we just talked about everything. It’ll be a great experience for me. I think we’ll work together great and it’s going to be dream come true.”
The knee injury Noel suffered back in February is keeping him out of action in Orlando and he is unlikely to be ready for the start of his rookie season. Meanwhile, Carter-Williams got off to a rough start on Monday morning, committing six first-half turnovers before settling down some.
During an 8-for-23 shooting day, Carter-Williams, the 11th overall pick in the NBA Draft, took turns between showing a quick first step in getting to the rim, setting up his teammates in the half-court and settling for contested jumpers.
“Maybe three or four of those turnovers were plays where he was careless or fatigued, but some of them were turnovers because we weren’t doing the things we needed to do,” said Sixers summer league head coach Michael Curry, who remains a candidate for the Sixers’ still-vacant head coaching position. “He’s a point guard that is ball-dominant, so he’s gonna have turnovers, but we want to get his turnovers down, but we also want him to make plays.”
Carter-Williams figures to start at the point from the very outset come October. The Sixers acquired Noel, the sixth overall pick, from the New Orleans Pelicans in a draft night trade that sent All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans.
That trade by new General Manager Sam Hinkie was viewed by some as risky, but it was a clear sign that Hinkie is looking to re-boot this franchise with Carter-Williams, the Most Outstanding Player of last season’s East Regional as a sophomore at Syracuse, at the helm.
“I think he comes in expecting to perform and I think he sees himself as one of the best players that came out in this draft and he wants to perform that way,” Curry said. “The fact that we gave Jrue for him, that’s shouldn’t be on him. Hopefully, we can let him make his own way and set the stage for how his career is gonna be.”