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The Vinsanity Surge: Vince Carter is Back

At thirty-nine years old, Vince Carter is nearing the end of his career. However, Vince is adapting his game and proving this season that he can still contribute off the bench.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Vince Carter has quietly been a solid role player so far this season for the Memphis Grizzlies, particularly in the last couple of games. Finally, Vinsanity has shown up. Now, the hope is he can keep this kind of production up the rest of this season. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance from Carter in the past, flashes of his former glory. But as he’s gotten older, his game has changed, which is to be expected.

He delivered an incredibly impressive performance Tuesday night with 20 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks. In addition, he delivered the game-winning pass to teammate Marc Gasol, who shot the buzzer-beater bucket to win the game. Carter is a master at inbounds passes at the end of games. There have been several examples of this during his tenure with Memphis:

Carter has never been expected to have a very prominent role on the team, but Grizzlies fans have always wanted him to just stay healthy and make a few threes coming off the bench. Well, Carter has been productive so far this season, and if he can consistently produce for Memphis, that really helps their bench situation, which is more shallow this year than the last couple of seasons. On Tuesday night, with his 20 point performance, he surpassed Michael Jordan as the oldest player to score 20+ points off the bench.

Last year, he played 60 games and averaged 16.8 minutes, and the year before that he played 66 games and averaged 16.5 minutes. As he has aged, we’ve watched Vince Carter adapt his style of play and become more of an outside shooter rather than a high-flying dunker. However, we’ve still seen flashes of his dunking abilities during his time with Memphis, including already this year:

Carter has a positive PER of 11.03 this year, and he has an offensive rating of 108. With Vince being able to more consistently hit shots from beyond the arc and in general, it provides more spacing for Memphis. Although he isn’t the most capable player on defense, he isn’t necessarily a liability, either. Also, his veteran leadership and professionalism is definitely a plus for the Grizzlies.

Can Carter keep this type of production up? Time will tell. The last couple of seasons, Carter has had some trouble with his health. Barring that, Vince can really make an impact off the bench this season. He seems to be finally getting into a rhythm offensively after having mediocre performances for so long. He’s providing a spark off the Grizzlies’ younger and shallower bench.

On the other hand, his percentage from three definitely still needs to improve, but as long as he can hit one or two of them a game on a consistent basis, most Grizzlies fans won’t complain.

Right now, he’s averaging 25.7 minutes per game, which is his highest during his time with Memphis. With Parsons being out so far this season, Carter has had to be on the court more. It’ll be interesting to see now how exactly he’ll be worked into the rotation with Parsons being back.

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

This past season, Vince won the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award, which is yet another example of his professional attitude and dedication to the good of his team. At this point in his career, Carter doesn’t seem like he cares too much about how many minutes he gets in the game. He just wants what is best for the team, which is the best mentality to have for any NBA player.

Though these past few games are a small sample size, it’s nonetheless an important one. Carter looks in the best shape he’s been in since being with the Grizzlies, and he’s starting to perform the way Memphis had needed him to since his arrival a couple seasons ago.

Vinsansity has reentered the scene, and hopefully he’s here to stay.

Follow @sbngrizzlies