May 11, 2018, 7:57 pm
2017-18 averages: 58 G | 5 GS | 17.7 MP | 5.3 PTS | 2.6 REB | 1.2 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.4 BLK | 0.6 TOV | 40.3 FG% | 34.5 3P% | 75.7 FT% |
Vince Carter signed on with the Kings for a one-year deal in the offseason and immediately became a mentor and advisor to players.
“It’s funny, as soon as I was announced, Justin [Jackson] texted me immediately and said, ‘Hey I’m ready to learn, let’s get to work,’” Carter said while chatting with the broadcasters on NBA TV for a Summer League game. “I like being around young guys that are thirsty to learn and get better.”
Jackson was just one of the few that Carter helped along the way. He said he was always talking to younger players about being reckless; the man known as Air Canada was all about helping players extend their careers.
But, it wasn’t just teaching the young players about keeping their health. Just this week Willie Cauley-Stein made a post on Instagram praising the work Carter has done and showed his gratitude for the legend for always being willing to dish out assistance.
In his 20th season in the NBA, Carter flourished in not only his mentor role, but on the floor as well when he was alotted minutes. Carter used his 3-point shooting ability to knock down open looks and helped keep the offense flowing on the floor.
His usage percentage was the lowest of his career (just 14.7 percent) but he yielded one of the highest plus-minuses of anyone on the team. His minus-65 over the course of the season was better than any player on the team that played more than 53 games.
Carter was able to use his smarts rather than his athleticism on most nights.
His steals percentage (STL%) was tied for best on the team, with Buddy Hield, at 2.1 and his defensive win shares total of 0.9 was high on the team even though he played hundreds (or even a thousand) less minutes than most regulars.
For comparison, De’Aaron Fox played 2026 minutes (compared to Carter’s 1026) and had just a 1.1 DWS total. Garrett Temple, one of the team’s best defenders, played almost 600 more minutes (1615) and finished the same DWS as the 40-year-old vet.
Carter also had one of the lowest defensive ratings on the team at 110, which was higher than all the Kings’ regulars except Cauley-Stein (108) and Kosta Koufos (108).
Carter’s season wasn’t just successful on defense in his short time on the floor, however. He boosted the team’s offense with his ability to make 3-point buckets and create offense for others.
It’s not a surprise that in the Kings’ 20 wins in which Carter played he had an offensive rating of 108 and in the 38 games the team lost when he was in the lineup his rating was just 94.
165 of his 283 field goal attempts were from beyond the arc and he knocked down an average amount of them.
Carter also helped the team when it came to the second half of the season because as the young players faltered, he stepped up.
His field goal percentage, true shooting percentage, offensive and defensive shares went up following the All-Star break.
What Carter lacked in bounce, he made up for with his knowledge and experience of the game and he proved to be a valuable asset for the team. He didn’t shoot as high of a percentage from beyond the arc as some may have hoped (his 34.5 percent was seventh best of players with the Kings at the end of the year), but he helped when it came to the younger guys and that’s really what he was brought in to do. Anything on the floor was a bonus for the most part.
Carter is a free agent and the Kings could offer him a one-year deal and they probably will, but after his minutes were cut to end the season it wouldn’t be surprising to see him take a small role with a more promising team, rather than a re-building roster like Sacramento.
And just for pure enjoyment, here’s Carter dunking at age 40 for the Kings.