While twitter was busy bashing Cody Zeller, there was a wave of NBA bloggers also falling in love with Michael Carter-Williams and his potential. Guys who were just seeing him for the first time and happened to see him play his best game of the season. Carter-Williams is a guy who can make an immediately positive impression on you at first glance - a tall 6'7'' point guard who can defend and has a pass first attitude. NBA bloggers shouldn't be ashamed, Michael Carter-Williams fever also swept over the college basketball writers in November and December as Michael Carter-Williams destroyed lesser competition. The same remarks gushing about his upside and calling him a top 5 pick that are being repeated now, were first said then.
Believe it or not, there was even a time early in the season where Michael Carter-Williams was brought up in conversation for first overall pick. There was a legitimate debate whether he was a better prospect than Marcus Smart - one that I received a lot of questioning about for siding with the Oklahoma State guard. All the talk pushed me to voice my concerns on him in December in this post (where I also talked about my concerns of Shabazz and Bennett, saying the same things that many are just starting to come around to now).
The more you watch Carter-Williams though, the more you are able to see his flaws. One game or a highlight reel doesn't give you a good barometer for his ability to control the pace of a game and thats something that is a major concern for him. Everyone is prone to a bad game every now and then, but point guards aren't supposed to be so easy to force out of their element. MCW is one of the most inconsistent players in the country and that isnt a good sign for an average shooter who has the ball in his hands a lot. He should possess the skills and ability to make plays when needed, but most of MCW's production comes in spurts of high level played followed by long droughts. Consistency is key for an offense to run well and MCW hasn't provided it this year for the Orange. Its why Cuse has been one of the best teams at beating up weaker competition - taking advantage of their physical advantages - but have struggled at times against good teams. He can rely on his length and athleticism to dominate opponents a lot of times, but against stronger competition the rest of his holes show.
Last night against Indiana however, MCW and Triche absolutely dominated the backcourt of Yogi Ferrell and Jordan Hulls. Indiana's defenders were too small to have any chance against either player and they were ran all over. I'm still waiting for a game where Michael Carter-Williams doesn't have this great advantage and is able to win a game via solid play throughout the whole game. We either get him dominating a whole game, playing well one half while throwing up a dud in the other half, or looking completely out of sorts an entire game.
Michael Carter-Williams, nobody is asking anything spectacular of you. Just show you can control the pace of a game all the way through and make the plays you are supposed to make. Get your team in the offense, handle the pressure, and continue to navigate your team's path through the NCAA tournament. There is still time left and the opportunities you have on the radar are the exact ones you'll need.