Rookie of the First Trimester: Michael Carter-Williams, 76ers
This is a three-player discussion at best.
And let's face it: This is a discussion of any sort only because MCW missed 12 of Philadelphia's first 28 games.
The Sixers' 6-foot-6 point guard can't continue to be out that often if he wants to snag the rookie award that matters at season's end, but Philly boasted a still-hard-to-fathom record of 7-10 entering Monday’s play in the games with MCW in uniform alongside its otherwise eminently tankable roster.
Without MCW? Philly is 1-10.
There have been undeniable flashes of promise from Orlando's Victor Oladipo and, more recently, Utah's Trey Burke, who’s had an MCW-esque impact on the Jazz when you compare Utah’s record with Burke in (7-11) and out of the lineup (1-11). But Oladipo is averaging as many turnovers per game (3.4) as assists, learning point guard play on the fly and shot his way out of Orlando’s starting lineup over the weekend. And Burke, as good as he looked in his first head-to-head meeting with Oladipo, is likewise shooting just 39.0 percent from the floor.
No one would dare suggest MCW has played mistake-free ball, but it's also true that no other rookie has shown as many All-Star flashes as the Syracuse man. And if you need more statistical proof to buy in, please note that MCW leads all rookies in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
Do you remember the last rookie who averaged at least 17 points, five rebounds and seven assists for an entire season?
Magic Johnson was his name.