Michael Carter-Williams wins Rookie of the Year as five players who receive first-place votes

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We knew Michael Carter-Williams would win Rookie of the Year, but we didn’t know just quite how he’d do it.

Turns out, the 76ers guard prevailed over the widest field of first-place vote-getters since the NBA adopted its current voting format for the award.

Five players – Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Mason Plumlee and Tim Hardaway Jr. – received first-place votes, the most in a dozen years.

In 2002, Pau Gasol (117 votes) won over Richard Jefferson (three), Andrei Kirilenko (two), Jason Richardson (two) and Jamaal Tinsley (two).

Back then, voters chose only a winner on their ballots. Now, voters rank first-place (five points), second-place (three points) and third-place (one point).

Carter Williams averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds, leading rookies in all three categories (the last guy to do that was Oscar Robertson). However, he put up the numbers because on a bad team he was given the ball and asked to make plays without concern for efficiency. 

In the last few years, we’ve seen a few runaway winners. Damian Lillard won unanimously last year, and so did Blake Griffin in 2011. Between, Kyrie Irving took 117 of 120 first-place votes with nobody else receiving more than one.

But Carter-Williams faced more competition, though he still received 104 of 124 first-place votes.

Full voting (first-, second-, third-place votes, total points)

1. Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia (104-15-4-569)

2. Victor Oladipo, Orlando (16-89 -17-364)

3. Trey Burke, Utah (1-13-52-96)

4. Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn (2-5-33-58)

5. Tim Hardaway Jr., New York (1-2-12-23)

6. Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota (0-0-3-3)

7. Steven Adams, Oklahoma City (0-0-1-1)

7. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee (0-0-1-1)

7. Nick Calathes, Memphis (0-0-1-1)

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.