I didn't need last night to believe in Vince Carter. I've believed for about one and a half years now. But last night just rewarded my faith.
It's no secret that Vince Carter is hated in the sports and basketball world. For good reason -- he quit on two franchises with awful effort (Toronto, Phoenix) and failed to carry two teams with Finals aspirations to their desired goal (New Jersey, Orlando).
So overlooking Vince Carter's stay in Dallas is pretty easy, especially with the Mavericks mediocre record. Last night though, it was hard to ignore in the Mavs big-time win on the road, their fourth straight:
Carter dominated the game down the stretch with three 3-pointers and a crafty drive and finish with a scoop layup. Normally this part of the game is where Dirk Nowitzki takes over, but this time it was Carter. He played off Dirk's attention with bomb after bomb. The Bucks took away Dirk, but they couldn't take away Carter.
The game only boosted Carter's phenomenal season numbers. He's now posting a career-high 57.9 true shooting percentage (true shooting percentage factors in three pointers and free throws for a more accurate total of overall shooting) and his 17.7 PER is his highest since his last season in New Jersey. Carter's ability to thrive in the pick and roll and be an emergency post-up player in crunch-time has been the biggest reasons for his success in Dallas.
He's also playing defense. Yes, defense. According to 82games.com, Carter is holding opposing small forwards (his most played position by far) to a 13.3 PER. When he's off the floor, the Mavericks defense per 100 possessions is actually worse according to NBA.com.
And here's this, just for fun:
Stats per 36 minutes (from Basketball Reference):
Jason Terry (2010-11): 18.2 points, 4.7 assists, 2.1 rebounds per game with a 54.5 true shooting percentage.
Vince Carter (current season): 18.9 points, 3.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds per game with a 57.9 true shooting percentage.
Vince Carter has essentially turned into a 6'6'' Jason Terry who rebounds and can play some defense. Considering he's only getting paid a little over $3 million this year and again next year, he's quite the steal. It's been fun to believe in Carter again.