In case you haven't noticed, I've been rather infatuated with Vince Carter's time in Dallas for two reasons.
1.) He's my childhood basketball hero. Seriously,it's a big deal.
It looks like, finally, someone nationally recognized has joined me. I've written about how Carter has fit in rather nicely a ton in the last year and a half and now Zach Lowe of Grantland has thrown in his thoughts as well.
Like myself, Lowe is appreciating the way Carter has transitioned into the twilight of his career as a more than solid role-player:
...Carter reinvented himself in Dallas as a solid two-way player willing to work on both ends of the floor and fill whatever role the Mavericks asked of him on offense. He busted it during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, but the results were uneven - 41 percent shooting and a 13.6 Player Efficiency Rating, both career lows. Carter's numbers have ticked back up this season, even as the Mavericks have shifted him almost full-time to small forward and asked him to occasionally work as the centerpiece of their offense in Dirk Nowitzki's absence. The Mavs signed Carter in 2011 with no idea whether he'd contribute at all, but tune in to a Dallas game during crunch time this week and you'll likely see Carter running the pick-and-roll or using his beefed-up post game to draw a double-team, scan the floor, and find the open man.
The praise out of Dallas is unanimous, to the point that it doesn't seem possible the Mavs are talking about the same Vince Carter - the malingerer who exaggerates injuries, loafs on defense, and pouted his way out of Toronto, devastating a franchise and costing several higher-ups their jobs. "I can't say anything but great things about [Carter]," Mavs owner Mark Cuban says. "He brings it every night. He will take on any role coach asks of him. He is even taking a charge now and then."
Please, please please read the rest of Lowe's article, which features a better breakdown of Carter's game than I ever could muster. Carter is averaging a little over 13 points per game, shooting 42 percent from three and providing more than acceptable defense/rebounding from the backup small forward spot. He's been fantastic.
Face it, haters: Vince Carter has been great in his role this season (and last). In fact, thanks to more than a few disappointments, Carter has probably been the Mavericks best acquisition since the 2012 off-season.
Have you ever thought about it?