The Milwaukee Bucks are hoping that benching Michael Carter-Williams can help bring him back on track, because he’s been almost a liability on the court so far this season.
The big problem for the 2014 NBA rookie of the year has been his shooting. It has been getting better, slightly than in his first two years in the league, but the Bucks need more than 42.9% from the field from him, and especially more outside threat. In today’s NBA, a point guard with just 1.2 3-point attempts per game, while hitting 31.3% of them, simply doesn’t cut it. Carter-Williams isn’t that brilliant in other aspects that the Bucks just can’t go without him.
Benching him hasn’t improved him by much. He had a good game against the Nuggets with 12 points and 9 assists while shooting 5-of-9 from the field, but it’s just one game, and his first encounter with coming up from the bench didn’t go so well. In two and a bit seasons in the league, he has been in the lineup for 144 of 149 games. He began his career as the future of the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers, but maybe they saw something in him they knew wasn’t right, and passed him off to the Bucks.
Rumors in Milwaukee suggest that if they had anyone to deal with for him, they’d do it in a heart beat. He is signed through the 2016-2017 season on a decent contract of just $3.1 million a season, which would really be nothing a year from now. But the Bucks gave up a very good player for him in Brandon Knight, and it’s not quite certain they’d get anything more than a second round pick for him at the moment.
He seemed like one of the more complete young players to look forward to during his first season in the league on both ends of the floor, only needing a little bit of polishing. But his defense has slipped and the Bucks are losing by 7.1 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor. This isn’t just about getting the most out of him in order to get this season back on track and hit the high expectations. Carter-Williams seems to be headed towards a very different career path once predicted for him.