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If Michael Carter-Williams is looking for a role model, he no longer needs to look very far.
The 23-year-old Carter-Williams' size, vision and penchant for triple-doubles has always made Jason Kidd his most favorable comparison, and his move to Milwaukee on Thursday means the former rookie of the year will now learn from his idol on a daily basis.
It's a dream scenario for MCW, whose move to greener pastures should allow him to do what he's always wanted to do -- shoot less, pass more, and finally play NBA games that matter. Miscast as a high-usage guy on a terrible Sixers team, Carter-Williams' shooting numbers went from bad to worse over his first two NBA seasons, a trend that will hopefully turn around now that he has a more talented supporting cast in Milwaukee.
But it's not just about what his new Bucks teammates can do for MCW. While Knight had developed into a high-efficiency scorer this season, his lack of playmaking instincts raised obvious questions about his long-term fit with a young supporting cast featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and Khris Middleton. Could Knight make his younger, more dynamic teammates better? Would he embrace a complementary role if and when Antetokounmpo and Parker began to reach their offensive potential? Knight's ability to space the floor and take pressure off teammates was certainly a plus, and it arguably made him the Bucks' most valuable player this season. But whether his skillset would grow and mature with everyone else was less clear.
With Knight now shipped off to Phoenix those questions are irrelevant, though the implications of the deal are obvious. While Knight became a reliable shooter and scorer in Milwaukee, he was never going to live up to Kidd's standards as a passer and play-maker. MCW has a chance to do just that, and the Bucks will hope that less scoring pressure and plenty of hard work can help him bring those shooting percentages up to reasonable levels while enabling guys like Giannis and Jabari to feast off his instinctive abilities as a passer. For inspiration he only needs to look at Kidd's career: Both piled up assists and bricked jump shots at prodigious rates early in their careers, but Kidd eventually developed a reliable three-point stroke to complement his playmaking wizardry and defensive dynamism. If Kidd can't teach Carter-Williams to be the next Kidd, who can?