On walks around a city desperate for an heir to Allen Iverson’s star and staying power, Michael Carter-Williams has swiftly turned from a franchise prospect to an improbable successor, or so people tell him. From fans to friends, team staffers to sports talk, Carter-Williams listens to the ways Philadelphia’s star of yesterday represented its blue-collar ethics, the ways he molded the 76ers.

Carter-Williams will never score with the frequency Iverson did over an entire career, nor become the unique cultural icon, but he’s already shown Philadelphia flashes of the level of talent that made A.I. a legend there and the mental makeup to go with it. Now, he’s hearing about it, too.

“I’m hearing the comparisons, and it’s an honor,” Carter-Williams told RealGM. “Allen Iverson was great, one of the best of all time. What he did for the city of Philadelphia is amazing.”

When Iverson returned to the city for opening night, he celebrated several of Carter-Williams’ finishes at the rim and precise passes and the win over the Miami Heat. Past and present, Iverson and Carter-Williams had met briefly later that night. “I said what’s up to him, but there were a lot of people around him,” Carter-Williams said. Yes, the crowd will always follow Iverson in Philadelphia the fashion they do for very few professional athletes.

Suspicion of the 76ers tanking a season had started in the summer when new management deliberately hired Brett Brown and dispensed youth throughout the roster. To Carter-Williams’ first professional coaches in Summer League, what struck most were his competitiveness and his willingness to seek all avenues to win.

In the minds of old personnel, the 76ers’ hot start came as no surprise – not with Carter-Williams, not with Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes motivated in contract seasons. For Carter-Williams, people bringing up the idea of tanking irritated him and challenged his spirit for competition.

“It definitely bothered me,” Carter-Williams told RealGM. “We try not to listen to the talk, but clearly it gets to us. No one on the team has that attitude. We fight every night, and we use it as motivation.”

Despite an inability to sustain winning, Brown has instilled an environment susceptible to nurturing young players and engraving principles into their habits. A disciple of Gregg Popovich, Brown’s taken a hands on approach in huddles and practices, leaving players smiling about the intensity of the coach out of Maine who climbed the ranks through the National Basketball League in Australia.