NEW YORK — The most impressive Syracuse product in the early stage of this NBA season isn’t Carmelo Anthony.
No, it’s Philadelphia rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who is averaging 20.7 points, 9.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds for the first-place Sixers.
“I always liked him,” Anthony said Sunday before the Knicks hosted Minnesota at MSG. “I’ve been telling people all along that whoever gets him was going to get a steal.
“The first couple games he’s proven that and he’s only going to get better in my eyes.”
Asked if Carter-Williams was now the best Syracuse player in the NBA, Anthony smiled and said, “He can have the torch, I don’t have no problem passing the torch.”
If the Sixers are tanking the season in order to get Andrew Wiggins or Julius Randle in the Draft — as one NBA executive told SNY.tv was the case — nobody has informed Carter-Williams, who left Syracuse after his sophomore season.
He’s had two double-doubles in three games and one near quadruple-double when he put up 22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds when the Sixers beat the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat on opening night.
Carter-Williams is already thinking about Rookie of the Year honors.
“I think I have a pretty good chance at it,” he said, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. I’m just going to go out there, play my game and hope for the best.”
He added: “I think I can be as good as I want to be. I know what I need to do and I’m going to put in the work, so hopefully I can be great.”
As for the tanking plan, maybe it won’t actually happen.
“We understand what everybody has said and written about us,” first-year coach Brett Brown said after his team beat Chicago Saturday to move to 3-0. “Our guys have put in the day-to-day stuff, which has always been our message. I’m lucky I’ve found a group that enjoys each other’s company, and they enjoy playing together.”