The Atlanta Hawks continue to finds ways to add depth pieces that will help out their young core. But was Vince Carter a good choice to bring in?
Before there was Linsanity, there was Vinsanity; I suppose the Atlanta Hawks couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have both on the same team. Yes, Vince Carter is still playing in the NBA today, his 21st season in the league.
By agreeing to his contract with the Hawks, he joins Dirk Nowitzki (who just signed his next contract recently), Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish, Moses Malone and Kevin Willis as the only players to play 21 seasons in the NBA, the most any player has played in the league.
News broke from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski Wednesday evening that the Hawks are in line to become Vince Carter’s eighth team in his career and third team over the past three seasons. The two sides have agreed upon a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum of $2.4 million.
Once the news of the agreed upon deal broke, NBA Twitter was gold, as usual:
There were many complimentary tweets for Carter for not chasing a ring.
But no one should expect much out of Vince Carter this season. He’s scored 8.0 points per game or less in each of the last four seasons. Last season with the Kings, his 5.4 points per game were the lowest in his career and he’s only played in more than 70 games once in the last four seasons; the 58 games he played in last season were the lowest he’s played in since 2002-03.
Carter has never been one to accumulate a lot of rebounds or assists either, with a career averages of 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He hasn’t averaged more than four rebounds per game since 2012-13. And the last year he averaged over two assists per game? That would be 2013-14, with 2.6 assists per game.
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So what exactly does Vince Carter bring to the table for the Atlanta Hawks? If we compare him to the current roster of wing players, he won’t be taking any playing time away from the likes of Kent Bazemore or Taurean Prince, who combined to average 27.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season.
Going a level down in the depth chart, even Tyler Dorsey outscored Vince Carter last year, tallying 7.2 points in 17.4 minutes a game. DeAndre’ Bembry was nearly a mirror image in stats compared to Carter last season too.
The Hawks also drafted Kevin Huerter and just brought in Justin Anderson when they shipped out Mike Muscala. As currently constructed, Carter would be, at best, the fourth option as a wing player for the Hawks. However, they could give minutes to Carter and push Dorsey or Huerter down to the G League to develop more. Either way, it would be foolish to expect massive on-court contributions from Carter.
At the end of the day, this young Hawks team will benefit from the leadership Carter can bring to the locker room, and he comes at a very affordable price too. While Vince Carter may hit more statistical career lows, I just hope we see some alley-oops every so often from Linsanity to Vinsanity while they’re both in Atlanta.