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Rookie of the Year

Some may penalize Michael Carter-Williams for Philly's dreadful record this season. But not our panel. AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams, Sixers

Here’s the thing, America:

If you want to dock Michael Carter-Williams some Rookie of the Year points in the wake of Philadelphia’s 26-game losing streak, it only makes sense to do so if it helps the case of a ROY contender who has made a noteworthy contribution to a much more successful team.

Carter-Williams’ Sixers have 17 wins even after tying the longest losing skid in league history. Victor Oladipo’s Orlando Magic, meanwhile, have 23 wins. And Trey Burke’s Utah Jazz have 24.

So punish MCW if you wish, but we won’t. I refuse.

He’s leading all rookies in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. He’s playing on a team that, entering Saturday’s play, had handed a combined 120 starts to James Anderson, Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims. And he’s going to go down as the first rook since Magic Johnson to average at least 16 points, six rebounds and six assists for an entire season. Which is something only Oscar Robertson, other than Magic, has achieved.

I know MCW sports a fairly underwhelming PER just a hair above the league average at 15.24. I’m well aware that the Sixers’ fast pace and poor D allegedly gives him the opportunity, with more possessions, to pad his numbers. And I can’t ignore that he’s shot a very worrisome 17.7 percent from 3-point range since the All-Star break.

Still …

Voting for someone other than MCW for ROY is just voting to be different. He exceeded every reasonable expectation for the No. 11 pick from a draft class that has otherwise utterly underwhelmed us and kept grinding away despite being surrounded by a handful of players who quite possibly won’t even be in the league next season. It won’t be unanimous, but it should be a landslide in his favor.

Stein’s ballot: 1. Michael Carter-Williams; 2. Victor Oladipo; 3. Trey Burke

October prediction: Oladipo