In advance of the 2018-2019 NBA season, the Peachtree Hoops crew will preview each player on the current roster. The tenth installment evaluates veteran forward Vince Carter.
At 41 years old and entering his 21st season in the NBA, everyone knows who Vince Carter is. Whether you’re a fan of the NBA of many decades or a fan of only a few seasons, you’ve heard of Vince Carter — it’s impossible to be a fan of the NBA and not hear of Vince Carter and tales of his NBA escapades.
His exploits in the NBA dunk contest will live on forever in the memory of the NBA as will his dunk over Frederic Weiss. Carter will always be remembered as a ferocious dunker (and the fact he can still dunk at age 41).
Carter’s famous divorce from the Toronto Raptors is, for many, one of the defining moments in his career — the fan favorite turned villain, as Carter forced a trade to the New Jersey Nets. Only in the last few years has there seemed to be a genuine forgiveness between the Raptors fan base and Carter — but that’ll never be enough for some.
Another reason why Carter will be remembered so fondly is for his longevity. I mentioned how Carter can still get up and throw down, but he has also adapted his game perfectly to the evolving NBA. Carter’s game has become perimeter orientated (as the NBA itself has) and that’s been his bread and butter for a number of years now — that’s part of the reason Carter has stuck around for long as he has.
Another reason Carter has hung around: teams value and respect Vince’s longevity and seek for him to share what he has learned with younger teammates.
Carter’s experience is a very valuable asset to have and is, by many accounts, an excellent locker-room/mentor to have on a team — whether it’s a more experienced team or a young team, Carter has a lot to offer off of the court.
And that’s where we’ll tie in the Atlanta Hawks and Vince Carter together.
At this stage of his career — while he can still play — it’s about what Carter adds to the locker-room/off of the court more so than what he can do on it.
The Hawks don’t necessarily need Vince Carter for what he can do on the court — there’s nothing that he does that others on the roster can’t do (well, besides dunk at age 41). But Carter offers experience and knowledge that no one else on the roster (and the majority of the NBA, for that matter) can, and that’s going to be an invaluable resource not only for the young Hawks as they tread their way through this season, but for Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce — having someone as mature as Carter as well as being, who many regard, an excellent role model and professional, will be invaluable to Pierce and his staff as they attempt to usher in a new system in Atlanta.
However, the fact that Carter can still play offers the opportunity for the former All-Star to be an extension of the coaching staff on the floor — point out defensive assignments/rotations etc. — as well as providing general pointers he has learned across his two decades in the NBA to those on the floor. His wealth of NBA experience is one that should be put to good use. And when he does play, you shouldn’t be too surprised to see him trotted out some at power forward, which certainly opens some interesting matchup options.
Vince will obviously play this season but you shouldn’t be surprised if/when there are nights/spells where he just doesn’t play. I think it’s fair to imagine that to begin the season you’ll see more of Carter than you will toward the end of the season. Again, Carter’s greater value to the Hawks and Pierce is what he offers off of the court to his young teammates — to be an example of how to be a professional.
Vince Carter probably won’t be an Atlanta Hawk for long but has the opportunity to make a lasting impact on its future stars. Be excited for those ‘Vinsanity’ moments and savor the moment when a 42 year old man rises for a dunk. It could well be his last in the NBA...