Michael Carter-Williams anticipated a reaction in his return to Philadelphia.
He just didn’t know what type of response it would be.
The 76ers unveiled an impressive video montage and the fans gave him a nice ovation in pregame warmups.
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“I had no idea and I didn’t know what to expect,” Carter-Williams said. “I was only here for a year-and-a-half so I didn’t know what it was going to be like coming back. But I’m happy for the reception I got. One of my coaches told me they did a little video tribute for me so I was happy to hear that.”
MCW, the reigning Rookie of the Year with the Sixers last season, returned and played a stellar game in a 107-97 victory for the Milwaukee Bucks. He scored a season high-tying 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting and added five assists, five rebounds and three steals in 30 minutes.
More than that, Carter-Williams ran the offense with the poise of a 10-year veteran.
“We tried to keep his minutes down but we wanted to get him some work,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “He wanted to get a win. You could see he was playing at a very high level and he’s been doing that for us for the last couple weeks.”
Carter-Williams was selected with the No. 11 pick two years ago and was supposed to be a key building block in the rebuilding phase of the Sixers. Even after a Rookie of the Year award, he was traded to the Bucks in a stunning deadline deal.
MCW is now headed to the playoffs while the Sixers are trudging right back to the lottery.
“It’s real exciting for me because it’s my first playoffs and the first for a lot of the guys here,” Carter-Williams said. “I’m happy with what’s going on. I was happy to see my old teammates and coaches. I had a very good experience here.”
Carter-Williams is starting to flourish with the Bucks. He posted his second 30-point performance over the past four games after having just two with the Sixers.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Carter-Williams said. “I was getting the ball and trying to attack the lanes and get to the rim and knew if I did that, good things would happen.”
Good things are definitely on the horizon for MCW.
Though it was a short stint with the Sixers, he received plenty of good vibes in his homecoming.
“That was great,” he said. “I didn’t really see it (video) at the time, otherwise I would have acknowledged the crowd. But it’s unbelievable. I’m thankful for it and I appreciate them as much as they appreciate me.”