It wasn’t long ago that Michael Carter-Williams was named Rookie of the Year over the Magic’s Victor Oladipo. Much has since changed, but Carter-Williams now has an opportunity to be the Magic’s back-up point guard during their playoff push.
With the Magic sitting just 1.5 games out of the eighth-spot, it was clear that their point guard depth had to be addressed. They did that on Friday.
The team announced they signed Carter-Williams, a veteran point guard, to a 10-day contract. The 27-year-old was drafted 11th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft and named ROY after averaging 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds. He played 16 games for the Rockets this season before being traded in January to the Bulls, who waived him.
RELEASE: Magic sign free agent guard Michael Carter-Williams to a 10-day contract pic.twitter.com/tmrAbNnlDz— Orlando Magic PR (@Magic_PR) March 15, 2019
Carter-Williams, at 6-6, has averaged 11.1 points and 4.7 assists in his seven-year career. While he doesn’t provide the outside shooting the Magic so desperately could use from the back-up point guard position (MCW is a career 40.2 percent shooter, including just 25.4 percent from three), he does provide the defensive presence on the perimeter that the Magic lost when Isaiah Briscoe suffered a torn meniscus in his knee.
Orlando was in dire need of depth at the position after the loss of Briscoe, whose energy and defensive tenacity was key in the Magic’s pre-All-Star break turnaround. Briscoe, who had taken the back-up point guard role from Jerian Grant, underwent surgery this week and there is no timetable for his return. Grant, in his first season with the Magic, has been underwhelming, averaging 4.2 points and 2.8 assists while shooting just 41.5 percent from the field in 16.7 minutes per game. Grant had three points on 1-for-5 shooting and five assists in the Magic’s win over the Cavs on Thursday.
The Magic, looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012, clearly needed an upgrade. Instead of giving the opportunity to Troy Caupain, a two-way player averaging 16.3 points for the Lakeland Magic, Orlando is taking a flyer on Carter-Williams, who played under Steve Clifford in Charlotte last season, averaging 4.6 points and 2.2 assists in 16.1 minutes per.
The Magic intend to sign Michael Carter-Williams to a 10-day contract to improve their point guard depth. The team applied for an injury hardship exception and was granted that exception.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) March 15, 2019
The problem for Carter-Williams, in addition to his offensive inefficiency, has been staying on the court. Having suffered various injuries, he has played in more than 38 games in a season just once in his career (his rookie year, 70 games).
The Magic have just 12 games remaining and 1.5 games to make up on the eighth-seeded Heat. If Carter-Williams can provide a lift over the next 10 days, he could latch on for the remainder of the regular season, and the playoffs if the Magic qualify.
With Carter-Williams having made the postseason with Milwaukee in 2015 and Chicago in 2017, he also offers something the Magic rotation is lacking: playoff experience.
Regardless of what you think of the signing, it’s good to see the Magic making moves geared towards making the postseason for the first time in a long time.