If you had Michael Carter-Williams in the “first rookie to have a breakout game” pool, congratulations, you won. The Philadelphia 76ers rookie point guard had an unbelievable, record-breaking debut Wednesday night as his team upset the Miami Heat 114-110.
Carter-Williams finished the night with 22 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds and nine steals. The nine steals are an NBA record for a player in his first game. The 12 assists is the second-most in NBA history for a player in his first game (the record is 14).
Carter-Williams’ nine steals also tied a 76ers record, Allen Iverson is the only other player to have done that, and he did it twice. It was fitting that the rookie out of Syracuse matched Iverson on Wednesday night, since AI was being honored for officially retiring as a member of the organization earlier in the day.
Past 76ers greats Iverson, Charles Barkley, Julius Erving and Moses Malone were on hand to watch their former team upend the two-time defending NBA champions. They all seemed impressed with what they saw from Carter-Williams, who was the 11th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Carter-Williams entered his rookie season with a ton of question marks surrounding his ability. He’s wildly talented, and at 6-6 has the size and athleticism to be a truly dominant NBA point guard. But he weighs just 185 pounds and is regarded as a project because of the shooting and turnover woes he struggled with during his two seasons at Syracuse.
Probably the most impressive part about MCW’s game Wednesday night was the fact that he turned the ball over just once in 36 minutes against a defense that forced five from Derrick Rose the night before. The rookie also knocked down four three-pointers, hit six of his 10 shots from the field and was 6-of-8 from the free throw line.
While it’s probably a bit premature to expect this kind of night from Carter-Williams on a regular basis, it was really impressive to see in his debut game. In fact, it was easily one of the most impressive debuts in NBA history.
Video highlights of Michael Carter-Williams’ outstanding debut below: