Carter-Williams trying to rediscover magic with Orlando

Michael Carter-Williams is having success with the Magic.

INDIANAPOLIS — Michael Carter-Williams was once seen as the most-promising point-guard prospect from the 2013 NBA draft. Averaging more than 16 points, six rebounds and six assists per game, he earned himself the Rookie of The Year honors.

Being just the 11th overall pick he was surely seen as a steal at that late in the lottery. In fact, he was just what the Philadelphia 76ers needed. They were famously tanking during those years, and earned themselves the nickname, “The Process.” Carter-Williams immediately filled the shoes of their All-Star point guard, Jrue Holliday, whom they had just traded.

Unfortunately, after just a season and a half in Philly, he was shipped out to Milwaukee, where he was coached by Jason Kidd, one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. Another season and a half later, he was moved again, this time to the Chicago Bulls.

After his first two seasons in the NBA his statistics decreased each season. Almost as if the Rookie of The Year award was sadly his peak as opposed to the beginning of a long career. After Chicago, he went to the Charlotte Hornets for a season, before finding himself on the Rockets at the start of this season. Team after team, Carter-Williams simply could not find a home in the NBA. After Houston traded him back to the Bulls earlier this season, he was waived, and left without a team. Things were certainly looking like they were rapidly coming to an end for the 27 year old.

Thankfully, three months after being waived, he got an offer form the Orlando Magic to join them on a 10-day contract, and hasn’t looked back since. The team just signed him to his second 10-day deal last Monday.

“I try not to worry about my 10-day,” Carter-Williams told Amico Hoops. “I try to just take it one day at a time, put in the work, and then go out there and have fun. That’s all I can do.”

Since he’s joined the team, it’s gone 6-2 and is right back in the race for the eighth seed in the Eastern Confernce. It initially started on a five-game winning streak after signing him.

“He’s a stat stuffer,” Aaron Gordon said. “His length… his IQ, is helpful. He really settles us. He’s kind of a do-it-all guy.”

Entering play Tuesday, Carter-Williams is averaging 5.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 18.1 minutes in eight games off the bench for the Magic, shooting 36.4 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the free-throw line.

The former Syracuse standout carries career averages of 11.0 points, 4.5 boards, 4.6 dimes and 1.3 steals in 26.3 minutes in 311 games (192 starts), with a shooting line of 40.1/25.3/70.0.

Most players on a 10-day contract don’t receive that kind of recognition by arguably the team’s best player, but he isn’t the typical 10-day guy, either. Not only is his talent above and beyond what a team normally gets from someone on this kind of a deal, but he also seems to fit in perfectly in the locker room, looking happy and talkative with fellow teammates. That’s not always the case. A guy who may only be there for a few weeks can sometimes be seen like an outsider and generally sticks to himself. It’s like being the new kid at school.

“I can’t focus on I got 10 days to do this, this, and that,” Carter-Williams said. “I just gotta focus on one day at a time and do anything I can for the team to win, and the rest will take care of itself.”

Once his second contract with the team expires this week, the Magic will have to make the decision to sign him for the rest of the season or let him go. There’s a lot of maybes for him right now. Will this team be able to make their first playoff appearance in six seasons? Will he even get a chance to be a part of it?

“I hope by the grace of God we get to the playoffs and I’m able to be a part of that,” he said.