Vince Carter takes reins as old man of the squad

August, 16, 2012
Vince Carter used to leap the tallest centers in a single bound and dunk on their heads. Those days are long gone except for the occasional rev-up Carter can still breathtakingly pull off in any given game.

"I’m not really into trying to jump over people anymore," Carter said in December shortly after joining the Mavericks. "Over the years, with experience, you don’t really realize the risk of doing some of that stuff, and it takes a toll on your body so I save it for special moments, whenever that is. I can still do it. I think now, particularly some of the young guys in here now, they feel like, ‘Hey, I’ve got to get there first, I don’t want to be on the poster of an old guy.’ I get that, so now I just figure, when you get there, two points is two points."

Carter, set to enter his 15th season, is indeed the old guy. He's 35 and turns 36 in January. With 39-year-old Jason Kidd moving to New York, Carter takes over as the Mavs' eldest statesman. Jason Terry's exit elevated Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki to next in line, both having turned 34 a few months ago.

Whatever you think of Carter at this stage of his career, the stats, according to, show that the Mavs were a better team offensively and defensively with Carter on the floor.

The Dallas Mavericks opted to fully guarantee Carter's $3.1 million salary for next season at the deadline, just hours before the start of the free agency period. After Deron Williams committed to the Nets, Dallas acquired point guard Darren Collison and shooting guards O.J. Mayo, a lock to start, and defensive-minded Dahntay Jones, and re-signed Delonte West. Combo guards Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones and draft pick Jared Cunningham cram both guard spots. Including Carter, eight of Dallas' 15 roster players are guards, suggesting Carter is likely to play much more small forward next season.

According to, Carter ended up playing more at small forward last season and essentially was equally effective at either wing spot. The difference is that early last season when he played more at the 2, the savvy Carter took advantage of posting up smaller shooting guards. As as the season wore on he became more of a spot-up shooter.

But he shot just 41.1 percent from the floor -- his lowest percentage since 2004-05 -- and below 40 percent from 3 feet from the bucket out to the arc. His 3-point percentage, a respectable 36.1 percent, dropped off significantly in the second half of the season and he was just 3-of-10 from beyond the arc in the four playoff games against Oklahoma City, slightly better than his perplexing overall shooting percentage in the series (29.3).

As Carter has acknowledged, his game has changed with age. He ranked 122nd in the league last season in dunks. As his drives have diminished so have his trips to the free throw line. He took just 115 last year, an average of 1.8 a game. In 2005-06, Carter took 601 free throws, 7.6 a game. By 2009-10, his attempts dipped to 306, 4.1 a game.

Carter averaged a career-low 25.3 minutes last season. With the current roster, that number can probably drop further, which could serve to maximize his still valuable assets.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?


Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Rick Carlisle

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Galloway & Company: Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Mark Cuban talk

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: The Standoff

Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Ramona Shelburne

ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Buy or sell

Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.


Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2