One of the few things that the Philadelphia faithful has to look forward to this Sixers season is the development, and hopefully improving play of second-year stud Michael Carter-Williams. After his impressive, and somewhat surprising rookie campaign in which he led all of his rookie peers in most major statistical categories, including scoring, rebounds, and assists, people are anxious to see what Carter-Williams can do in his sophomore season.
The reigning Rookie of the Year however, has not yet been cleared for full contact, 5-on-5 basketball following his off-season shoulder surgery.
Sixers GM Sam Hinkie spoke about his prized player’s recovery on a conference call with media members on Tuesday.
“So far, so good,” Hinkie stated when asked how Carter-Williams recovery was coming along. “I haven’t seen the full report as of late. I know he can shoot, and he’s been working out pretty hard.”
Working out and shooting sounds like pretty promising progress, especially considering strength and shooting are two areas where Carter-Williams could use some improvement. But, Hinkie also revealed that Carter-Williams had not yet taken one of the most important steps in the process.
“Last I heard, he’s not cleared for five-on-five contact,” Hinkie stated, before pausing and adding in:
“He did hit a homerun in a softball game which I teased him about.”
The softball game Hinkie was referring to was the Jeffery Osbourne Celebrity Softball Classic, and the home run came off of a pitch tossed by the legendary Magic Johnson.
Carter-Williams’ shoulder surgery is going on four months in the books, and while it is likely too early for his lack of contact to cause concern, it would be nice if he was cleared to do what he is going to have to do for the Sixers this season.
The offseason is an extremely important time for player improvement, especially for young guys like Carter-Williams looking to take that next step towards superstardom. It is also when teammates can begin developing some on-court chemistry. While it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he wasn’t able to play until close to the season’s start, it would be unfortunate if he was unable to work on aspects of his game only accessible through full five-on-five contact.
Carter-Williams can learn, and improve on court over the course of a regular season, as he did last year. Thus, as long as Carter-Williams is able to suit up come the season’s start, there is nothing to worry about. If it continues to clock closer to the start of the season without clearance however, that would be a fair cause for concern.