CHICAGO—Michael Carter-Williams has yet to play a game for the Bucks, but he’s already a fan of his new situation.
After what he was put through in his first year-plus in the NBA, anything would be a breath of fresh air. Carter-Williams won Rookie of the Year in 2014 racking up numbers on a terrible Sixers team, but the losses have piled up, and it’s not hard to see why any competitor would get frustrated.
So when he was traded to the Bucks on Thursday as part of a three-team deal that sent Brandon Knight to Phoenix, he finally got an escape from an impossible situation, and he couldn’t be happier.
“I love it,” Carter-Williams said after the Bucks’ 87-71 loss to the Bulls in Chicago on Monday. “They have a great attitude here and they’re chasing the playoffs. There is a different vibe. These guys are great.”
Carter-Williams has been outspoken in the past about his desire to win. Earlier in the season, he wrote an essay on the Players’ Tribune fighting back at anyone accusing the Sixers of tanking, something they’re clearly doing. He was more diplomatic about it on Monday, now that he’s not in the thick of it.
“It’s different,” he said. “The teams are in different stages. Philly is rebuilding and trying to do it a different way. Here there are some really established players. I’m not knocking one, Philly is just in a different place. Milwaukee is a playoff team and I am just here to try and help.”
The Bucks need him. They shipped out Knight, who has been their best player this season, to get him. He hasn’t played yet as he recovers from a sprained right toe. He’s a very different player from Knight, who is much more of a scorer, but he thinks his length can fit in with an athletic young Bucks core going forward, a group that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson and—eventually—Jabari Parker.
“I want to bring excitement and a good attitude,” he said. “I want to get the ball in the right spot and do the little things that help us win.”