|Points Per Game||8|
|Rebounds Per Game||3.1|
|Assists Per Game||1.8|
|Field Goal Percentage||39.40%|
|3-Point Shooting Percentage||37.80%|
|Player Efficiency Rating||11.7|
|Win Shares Per 48 Minutes||4|
|Minutes Per Game||24.7|
Don’t let the stats fool you. Vince Carter was a key factor in the Grizzlies success this past season. It was his best season in a Grizzlies uniform, and with the whole Chandler Parsons fiasco, the Grizzlies needed it.
Vince Carter has embraced the change from star player to role player more gracefully than I’ve ever seen. He’s traded in his highlight reel dunks in for timely 3-pointers but he still gave Grizzlies (and NBA fans) this, this, this and this.
His 8 points per game doesn’t seem like much, especially considering how offensively gifted Carter has been his entire career, but he scored his points when necessary. In games Gasol or Conley were going off, Carter didn’t need to throw in an extra 15 points. He could sit back, relax, and let the dynamic Grizz duo go to work. However, if the Gasol-Conley duo was struggling or if the Grizzlies needed a clutch basket, Vince was always there to give the Grizzlies the spark they needed. There were many games throughout the season where Vince only scored 3-5 points, but it was his clutch 3 or big dunk that swung the whole momentum of the game. Vince Carter picked the team up when necessary, but did a stellar job in accepting his role.
At 40 years old, it’s near miraculous that Vince Carter was able to do what he did this past season. His role changed multiple times throughout the season and he ended up starting for the Grizzlies every game in the playoffs averaging over 30 minutes a game. That’s just insane.
Fortunately for Grizzlies fans, Vince still had one more throwback superstar game in him this season. On March 13th against the Milwaukee Bucks, VC went off for 24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists. Oh, he also shot a perfect 8-8 from the field (6-6 from three). This wasn’t just a random game in the middle of March, either. The Grizzlies were on a 5 game losing streak and Vince’s performance halted that streak and sparked a 4 game Grizz win streak. When the Grizzlies needed a big game out of Vince the most, he made sure to deliver.
Ways to Improve:
Vince was great for the Grizzlies this season and far exceeded expectations. However, there are still a couple of things Vince could do to improve his game, especially if he returns to the Grizzlies. Although Vince has accepted his status as a role player, it hasn’t stopped him from trying to turn back the clock every now and then. It got better late in the season, but early on Vince’s shot selection was very questionable at times. If he made a couple baskets in a row everyone in the building knew a few heat check 3-pointers were coming from him.
Sometimes, it results in games like the one mentioned against the Bucks. More often than not, though, it resulted in empty Grizzlies possessions. Vince is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and is entitled to heat checks every so often, but on a Grizzlies team that needs to get the most out of every possession, he needs to be more selective with his shots.
If Vince returns to the Grizzlies this offseason, it would be nice to see him be a bit more of a facilitator. The Grizzlies turned to Vince as a make-shift backup point guard role when Andrew Harrison struggled early in the season. Other than being able to dribble and bring the ball past half-court, he wasn’t very effective. If Vince can evolve a bit more and become more of a point-forward it would benefit the Grizzlies greatly, especially if Chandler Parsons never fully recovers from his knee issues.
2016-2017 Overall Grade
The Grizzlies could not have asked for much more from the 40 year old Carter. He was arguably the Grizzlies best role player and did whatever was asked of him. He played in 79 games, including playoffs. Only JaMychal Green and Marc Gasol had more. Reminder - Vince is 40 years old.
Vince’s contribution to the Grizzlies extends beyond the court as well. Many of the Grizzlies young players have talked very highly of the influence Vince has had on them as they begin their NBA careers. Being a mentor to these young guys will have them prepared for the battles long after Vince retires (if he ever retires).