Michael Carter-Williams Says Trail Blazers 'Not A Particular Place I Choose To Go'
Players going through the pre-draft process tend to watch their words carefully, which becomes exceedingly evident the closer you get to the draft. Most of them have all been asked the same questions over and over in any number of ways, so not only are they weary of saying the wrong thing, but they're so hardened by the time the draft comes around from constant interviews that they're incredibly adept at saying something without really saying anything. It's a skill that comes in handy in once they get to the NBA as well.
So you have to respect a player who actually speaks honestly at this point in the process, as I believe Syracuse sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who Chad Ford has the Trail Blazers selecting
in his most recent mock draft, did today when asked how he'd feel about going to a team like the Trail Blazers, a team that already has an established player, in this case, Damian Lillard, at his position.
"I interviewed with Portland; I never went to work out with them," said Carter-Williams. "This year they had a point guard in Damian Lillard. If I get chosen by them, it's not something I can do, it's not a particular place where I choose to go, but I'd go there and make the best of it and then see what happens when my time comes."
A very reasonable, honest answer and one few, if any, of his peers would make. Most would be happy to reverted to stock answers like "I'm just happy to get drafted" or "I'm only focused on things that I can control" but instead Carter-Williams expressed something that everyone who has been around the NBA for a while knows: players want to play. No one who has the requisite confidence needed to play in the NBA wants to be a backup. They might say they don't mind, but trust me, they do. They all do.
So for Carter-Williams to basically say he doesn't necessarily want to enter into a situation in which an injury to one of his teammates would be the only realistic way he'd ever get to start is a statement I can respect. It might not play well in some circles, but that's the reality of playing behind a guy who is fast becoming the face of the franchise.
There have been instances the last few years in which it would have benefited the Trail Blazers to have a player in the locker room who wasn't afraid to say things that need to be said, teammates probably didn't want to hear. After all, telling the truth is often a thankless job, at best. So you could do a whole lot worse than drafting a guy like Carter-Williams who has shown a willingness, at least one one occasion, to say something that might be perceived as unpopular, even if he wants to be drafted by another team.