- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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Rookie of the Second Trimester: Michael Carter-Williams, Sixers
I tried to do voting gymnastics with my logic and conscience and lobby myself into nominating Trey Burke here, given that Utah has been borderline decent since that 1-11 start while Burke was nursing that finger injury.
But I'm sorry.
When it comes to the NBA Rookie of the Year race, in a terribly weak rookie class, I'm not going to penalize Michael Carter-Williams for the fact that the stripped-down, bare-bones Sixers are increasingly dreadful as this season wears on.
The Sixers, like the Jazz sans Burke, are also 1-11 when MCW doesn't dress. And when he does play -- no matter how offensive you find the rest of Philly's current squad -- you're still seeing some historic statistical stuff. Downgrade it if you must because of the crazy pace defenseless Philly plays at. But we won't.
The reality is that MCW has more 20-5-5 games (eight) than the rest of his fellow rookies have combined to produce all season (seven). He also remains on pace to become just the third rookie dating to 1950-51, joining Oscar Robertson (1960-61) and Alvan Adams (1975-76), to lead all rooks in scoring (17.1 PPG), rebounding (5.3 RPG), assists (6.2 APG), steals (2.0 SPG) and minutes played (34.5 MPG).
If Burke's Jazz or Victor Oladipo's Magic were outright ripping it up, perhaps then I could find a way to let one of those guys enjoy some Trimester 2 spotlight instead of the kid widely regarded as a lock to win rookie of the year honors at season's end.
I can't do it, though. Can't choose someone other than MCW here, even for a single trimester, when the Sixers rook is poised to be remembered as just the fourth rookie in league history to average at least 17 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds for an entire season joining Steve Francis (1999-2000), Magic Johnson (1979-80) and The Big O.
P.S. -- When MCW wins the real ROY deal in May, he'll become the first rookie selected lower than No. 10 to do so since current Warriors coach Mark Jackson in 1987. The only other players drafted 10th or later to win NBA Rookie of the Year are Jamaal Wilkes (No. 11 in 1974), Woody Sauldsberry (No. 60 in 1957) and Don Meineke in 1952-53.
4dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo