The potential for Michael Carter-Williams was off the charts. That was why the Philadelphia 76ers made him their first round selection in last year's drafts. The consensus was it would take years for the former Syracuse star to realize that potential.
He proved the doubters wrong in his debut Wednesday night with a historical performance. Not only did Carter-Williams help take out the defending champs and reigning MVP LeBron James, but he had one of the best debuts in the history of the league.
"I've been working on my shot every day," Carter-Williams said on NBATV. "I took a lot of heat for it, but I still have confidence in myself each and every day. So I just go out there and shoot when I'm open."
His shot was falling Wednesday night. Carter-Williams finished his career debut with 22 points, 12 assists, 9 steals and 7 rebounds while shooting 6-10 from the floor, 4-6 from the three point line and sinking two free throws in the final 10-seconds to ice the game.
"I was pretty nervous out there," Carter-Williams admitted to NBATV after the game. "But I was more excited than nervous. I just wanted to get out there and play my first NBA game. It ended up great."
Those nerves did not show as it was the most steals in a career debut in NBA history (the last of which came against Lebron in crunch time), and one steal away from the second debut triple-double in league history (Bill Russell).
Not bad for a rookie that was supposed to ease his way into the NBA game. Not bad leading a team that was supposed to be among the league's worst. Carter-Williams will have his bumps along his journey as an NBA rookie. That journey could not have started any better.
Scout.com's John Garcia Jr. contributed to this report.