Michael Carter-Williams returns to court for Sixers tonight, doesn’t like the word “tanking”

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The reigning Rookie of the Year is back.

In a limited role (he’s on a minutes restriction), but Michael Carter-Williams will be back on the court for the Philadelphia 76ers tonight when they take on the Dallas Mavericks. Carter-Williams had shoulder surgery after the season ended last year and there were varying reports on how much time he might miss, but he had said his goal was only to miss seven games, and he hit that number. Bottom line, despite his raw numbers less Tony Wroten is a good thing.

Now Carter-Williams and former AAU teammate Nerlens Noel get to play together again (both are expected to play Thursday night), something they talked about with CSNPhilly.com. They’re pumped to be back together, they feel they have a real chemistry together.

If you want to watch a live stream of Carter-Williams return and are a Comcast subscriber living in the Philadelphia area, you can do so by following this link. If you have questions here are the details on who can watch the live stream.

This is going to be a rough welcome back to the NBA — Carter-Williams is returning as the 0-7 Sixers take a three game swing through Texas, which likely means they will be 0-10 when it’s done. This is a team that lost 26 in a row last season and one where the organization is clearly tanking for another high pick.

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Carter-Williams hates the word tanking, and he hates losing. He wrote about it at The Players Tribune in a first-person piece.

Losing sucks. I don’t care how much money you make or what stats you put up. If you’re competitive enough to make it to the NBA, losing is absolutely brutal. If it’s a night game, you get home around midnight and your mind is racing. It’s almost impossible to sleep. You keep visualizing every game-changing play, trying to figure out what you could’ve done better. You beat yourself up. You try not to look at your texts. If SportsCenter comes on, it only makes you mad….

I can understand why the media seized onto the story (of the 26 straight losses). My problem is that it was missing a lot of context. We didn’t even have the worst record in the league at the time, but the average person watching on TV probably didn’t know that. The media spin was that we were tanking the season so we could get the number one draft pick. Now, let’s break that down for a minute. First of all, there’s a lottery system. As players, we all know the math. The last place team only has a 25 percent chance of winning the lottery. Grown men are going to go out and purposely mail it in for a one-in-four shot at drafting somebody who might someday take their job? Nope….

You can question my shooting. You can question my ceiling. Just don’t question if I’m giving my all every single night. Don’t talk to me about tanking.

I get why MCW and the players would take tanking talk personally, but he misses the point that it’s not about them. I don’t for a second question how badly coach Brett Brown, Carter-Williams and every other player in that locker room wants to win. Nobody rational is suggesting they are intentionally losing games.
Rather, the tanking is an institutional thing, the brain child of GM Sam Hinkie. Stockpile draft picks then put out a roster not capable of winning many games in hopes of getting a lot of quality talent to build a team out of. And it’s working — MCW, Noel, Joel Embiid and so whoever they draft this year. Come 2017-18, this could start to be a really dangerous team.

But not this year. Which is why the tanking narrative will continue.

None of that really matters tonight, true lovers of basketball are just happy to see Carter-Williams back on the court.