NOT SURPRISINGLY, if 76ers coach Brett Brown had a vote for rookie of the year, he'd cast it for his point guard, Michael Carter-Williams. That responsibility to pick the top rookie falls to media members who cover the NBA, and most will probably agree with Brown.
But for all the accolades rung up so far for MCW - he gained his third rookie of the month award Tuesday - his coach expects to see improvement over the summer from the skinny 22-year-old, as he's improved in his coach's eyes during this season.
"You can talk about he's playing on a bad team or that he's getting a lot of minutes and getting opportunities, and that is all true, but I see him getting better because he understands the NBA better," Brown said. "He's understanding what we want and demand from him from a coaching standpoint; he's understanding pick-and-roll; he's understanding, lately, at the end of games he's been having to manage end-of-game situations. He's getting better, he's getting older. I think there's a stingy side of him, and I say that in a positive way, that he's starting to get greedy. He's understanding the responsibility that he has. He understands the opportunity that he has to help grow this program. He deserves those awards. I think that he is the rookie of the year.
"The obvious thing [to improve in the offseason] is his perimeter game, and where we really have to invest time in the fundamentals of his shot. It was my decision, right or wrong, to not mess with his shot in the middle of the year or start of the year, where he's playing all the time. So this summer, we're going to talk a lot about Michael's form, his technique, his footwork, his hand positioning, his release point, his extension on his follow-through. All the subtleties that you would coaching your son.
"We're going to go back and really take time to invest time in Michael's perimeter game, because I think when you do that, he goes to a whole other level of dangerous to guard."