Everyone Hates Vince Carter

I am not the biggest Vince Carter fan in the world, bit I just don’t get when so-called NBA experts consistently hammer Vince as if he is the worst player on the planet. For example, here is a recent quote from Bill Simmons aka ESPN’s Sports Guy:

“I don’t blame Kidd for throwing a hissy fit — I would have done the same if I had to play with Vince Carter.”

Vince Carter

Stop smiling Vince, don’t you know the media and fans hate you.

Of course, there were 5 more derogatory jabs at Vince in this article so that Simmons could meet his anti-Vince quota. And he is not the only one. Virtually everyone is convinced that Vince Carter is a terrible basketball player, worthless human being and overall piece of garbage. Sure he’s done a few bonehead things (most notably, pouting for the first 20 games in Toronto during the 04-05 season) and he hasn’t won that many playoff games. Although, he has won 3 more playoff series than Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Carmelo Anthony combined.

But did this guy steal change from handicapped children or something that I missed? There are a number of players who are terrible guys in the NBA and there are a lot of players making WAY too much money given their performance. Guys who are way worse than Vince and guys who are way more overpaid. Why Vince gets treated so poorly by virtually the entire media just baffles me. I think its just lazy journalists taking the easy road. Its easy to just blame Vince because everyone will accept it.

Well, lets take an unbiased look at the effect Vince has had on each team he has played on since 2002-2003. The stat I want to use is adjusted +/-. According to www.82games.com: “Adjusted +/- ratings indicate how many additional points are contributed to a team’s scoring margin by a given player in comparison to the league-average player over the span of a typical game (100 offensive and defensive possessions).” Basically, it is a statistic used to measure each players effect on his team’s performance when he is in the game. For example… If a player had an adjusted +/- of +2.0 while he was on court and -2.0 off court that would give him a net adjusted +/- of +4.0. Obviously, the higher your net adjusted +/-, the more important you are to your team’s success. Lets look how Carter stacks up…

2002-2003 – On Court: -0.4, Off Court: – 9.0, Net: +8.6 (1st on team)
Vince missed a lot of time this year, but was still easily the Raptors most effective player at +8.6. The Raptors were about average when he was on the court (-0.4) and completely terrible when he was not (-9.0). Closest player on team to Carter was Antonio Davis at +6.6.

2003-2004 – On Court: -0.1, Off Court: – 9.6, Net: +9.4 (1st on team)
Basically the same story as last except Carter didn’t miss any time. His +9.4 was more than double any other Raptor… and Toronto fans wonder why Vince wanted to leave?

2004-2005 – On Court: +3.3, Off Court: – 7.6, Net: +10.9 (3rd on team)
Clearly Carter was having a great positive effect on his new team (now the Nets). He was behind Kidd (who was 2nd in the NBA to Tim Duncan) and 0.2 behind Jason Collins. Richard Jefferson… how about -4.3? Of course, in 20 games with the Raptors Carter was horrible at -8.3. You could easily make a case that Carter mailed it in (he basically admitted to)… and I’m sure thats why Raptors fans hate him!

2005-2006 – On Court: +5.4, Off Court: – 10.1, Net: +15.5 (1st on team)
Only Dwyane Wade at +15.8 had a better net rating than Carter.

2006-2007 – On Court: +0.8, Off Court: – 6.6, Net: +7.4 (2nd on team)
Kidd had a slightly higher net (+8.3) but Carter is clearly still a very effective player. A lot more effective than say Richard Jefferson at +2.1. Have you ever heard anyone say anything bad about Jefferson? Me neither. But Carter is a much more effective player.

2007-2008 – On Court: -2.2, Off Court: – 11.7, Net: +9.5 (1st on team)
Once again, Carter is the statistically the most effective player on his team. Kidd is +5.6 and Jefferson is -0.2. But Vince Carter is the problem?

(**All stats from 82Games)

Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson
One of these guys is clearly a better player than the other

So to recap, over the past 6 years, Vince has had at least a +7.4 net adjusted +/-, leading his team during 4 seasons with a high of +15.5, when he was second in the league. So why wouldn’t players want to play with him? Clearly teams are much better when Vince is on the court. Could anyone even argue against that? The goal of each basketball game is to outscore your opponents and when Vince is on the court, he has given his team a MUCH better chance to win. The only downpoint is the 20 game stretch of horrible basketball to start the 04-05 season.

Now I am not saying that Carter is an angel or that he didn’t mail it in in those 20 games for the Raptors. But for the hate this guy gets you would think that it was him, not Kidd, who beat his wife. How many DUIs does Carter have? How many strip club shootings? Hell, was it him or Chauncey Billups that raped* that woman back in 1999? (*Allegedly).

As far as Bill Simmons goes, he seemed a lot more knowledgeable about the NBA a few years back. I actually love Simmons’ articles and he’s my favorite sports writer. But I just really question some of his comments recently on the NBA. He actually like the Shaq/Marion deal for the Suns? Seriously?! And why hammer Carter in every column?

Why not take shots at the wildly overrated Carmelo Anthony? Not only does ‘Melo participate in gang sponsored “Stop Snitching” videos and sucker punch guys then run away, but he doesn’t even try on defense. Literally he is lost on defense AND he gives no effort. Not only that, but he has shown no willingness to improve his defense yet in his career. You want to talk about an overrated, overpaid bad off-court guy, there he is. How about these adjusted +/- rating for Carmelo the past 3 years… -0.5, +0.2, and +0.6. And he’s a All-Star starter in the loaded West? Give me a break! Of course, no sports writer will ever bring this up.

Danny Granger

Alright, I am just rambling at this point. If anyone has actually read this far, I will just add this… Simmons’ boy Danny Granger (who, for whatever reason, he thinks is the greatest player since Larry Bird) has the following net adjusted +/- for his career so far: -6.1, -0.4 and -6.5. So when Granger is on the court, the Pacers are clearly a worse team than when he is off the court. And the Pacers are terrible, so what does that say about Granger? You really think that Larry Bird is drunk dialing other GMs because he drafted this guy? You have got to be kidding me. I’d take Carter over Granger as a player (this season) and its not even close.

OK, enough of this… time to watch Lost.

EDIT(Added on 2/29):
Vince makes $13.3 mil this year, the 31st highest paid player in the league. Is he overpaid? Probably a little. Check out some of these other salaries though…

Shaq – $20.0M
Jermaine O’Neal – $19.7M
Stephon Marbury – $19.0M
Chris Webber – $19.0M
Michael Finley – $18.6M
Ben Wallace – $15.5M
Rashard Lewis – $14.9M (that he signed this year!)
Mike Bibby – $13.5M
Zach Randolph -$13.3M
Kenyon Martin – $13.3M
Wally Szczerbiak – $12.8M
Raef LaFrentz – $12.8M
Larry Hughes – $12.0M
Theo Ratliff – $11.7M
Kirk Hinrich – $11.3M
Erick Dampier – $10.6
Bobby Simmons – $9.3M (another Bill Simmons’ guy)
Troy Murphy – $9.2M
Kwame Brown – $9.1M
Eddy Curry – $8.9M
Adonal Foyle – $8.9M
Jason Williams – $8.9M
Nene – $8.8M

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Greg Oden Talks with Barack Obama

I thought this article was very cool. According to Greg Oden, “(Obama) said that when I come back Brandon, LaMarcus and I will be a force next year. He also asked me about my knee, and he said he wasn’t feeling my mohawk.”

Both Oden and Obama seem like genuinely good guys, which is refreshing. Check out the article here.

2008 NBA MVP

2008 NBA MVP

2008 NBA MVP

Who is the 2008 NBA MVP: Lebron or Kobe?

Updating this post, here are my top ten choices for the 2007-2008 NBA MVP (as of Feb 26):

1 – Lebron James
2 – Kobe Bryant
3 – Chris Paul
4 – Kevin Garnett
5 – Chauncey Billups
6 – Steve Nash
7 – Manu Ginobili
8 – Dirk Nowitzki
9 – Dwight Howard
10 – Antawn Jamison

NBA Star/Goat of the Week – Week 17

NBA Star of the Week – Lebron James

Lebron

At 23 years old, Lebron is already unstoppable

Lebron James – Lebron averaged a triple double this past week as the Cavs won 3 of 4. For the week, he averaged 28.8 pts, 12.3 reb, 10.5 ast and 2.0 stl while shooting 51% from the field. If Lebron went to 4 years of college, he would be a rookie this year… WOW!!

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NBA Goat of the Week – John Salmons

John Salmons

Is John Salmons the NBA version of Rick Ankiel?

John Salmons – What the hell happened to this guy? In a 21-game stretch in December and early January, Salmons scored in double figures every game averaging 19 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast and 1.5 stl. In only one game, he had 31 pts, 11 reb, 6 ast and 6 stl. But the last two weeks have been like nothing I have ever seen from any NBA player. I understand that Ron Artest and Kevin Martin are back and taking away some of his minutes and his shots, but that doesn’t begin to explain the monumental drop in his numbers.

In 6 games since Feb 16, Salmons has played 119 minutes and scored a total of 11 points! And he is doing nothing else either. Salmons’ total numbers for this stretch are:

119 minutes, 4-20 FG, 2-4 FT, 11 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks

NBA Power Rankings – Week 17

NBA Power Rankings – Week 17

Los Angeles Lakers

RankTeam(Record)+/- Pt DifferentialPrevious Ranking

1 – LA Lakers (39-17) +7.1 last week rank: 4
Week results: 4-0

2 – San Antonio Spurs (37-17) +5.1 last week rank: 7
Week results: 3-0

3 – Boston Celtics (42-12) +9.5 last week rank: 1
Week results: 1-3

4 – Houston Rockets (36-20) +3.8 last week rank: 8
Week results: 4-0

5 – Detroit Pistons (41-15) +8.1 last week rank: 2
Week results: 2-2

6 – Utah Jazz (36-20) +5.8 last week rank: 3
Week results: 2-1

7 – New Orleans Hornets (37-17) +5.1 last week rank: 5
Week results: 1-2

8 – Dallas Mavericks (37-19) +4.1 last week rank: 10
Week results: 2-1

9 – Cleveland Cavaliers (32-24) –0.8 last week rank: 12
Week results: 3-1

10 – Golden State Warriors (33-22) +2.0 last week rank: 9
Week results: 1-2

11 – Phoenix Suns (38-18) +5.0 last week rank: 6
Week results: 1-2

13 – Orlando Magic (36-22) +3.7 last week rank: 13
Week results: 3-1

12 – Denver Nuggets (33-22) +2.3 last week rank: 11
Week results: 1-2

14 – Toronto Raptors (30-24) +4.3 last week rank: 14
Week results: 2-1

15 – Sacramento Kings (26-29) –1.8 last week rank: 18
Week results: 3-1

16 – Philadelphia 76ers (25-32) –0.4 last week rank: 17
Week results: 2-2

17 – Portland Trailblazers (29-27) –0.7 last week rank: 16
Week results: 1-3

18 – New Jersey Nets (25-31) –4.9 last week rank: 19
Week results: 2-1

19 – Washington Wizards (26-29) +0.1 last week rank: 15
Week results: 1-2

20 – Chicago Bulls (22-33) –2.8 last week rank: 21
Week results: 1-2

21 – Atlanta Hawks (22-31) –2.3 last week rank: 20
Week results: 1-3

22 – Indiana Pacers (22-34) –2.6 last week rank: 22
Week results: 1-2

23 – Milwaukee Bucks (21-35) –6.5 last week rank: 23
Week results: 2-1

24 – LA Clippers (19-34) –4.3 last week rank: 24
Week results: 2-1

25 – Charlotte Bobcats (19-34) –5.6 last week rank: 25
Week results: 1-1

26 – Seattle Supersonics (15-40) –6.8 last week rank: 26
Week results: 2-2

27 – New York Knicks (17-39) –6.3 last week rank: 28
Week results: 2-2

28 – Minnesota Timberwolves (11-43) –7.4 last week rank: 29
Week results: 1-2

29 – Memphis Grizzlies (14-42) –5.5 last week rank: 27
Week results: 0-4

30 – Miami Heat (9-44) –7.8 last week rank: 30
Week results: 0-2

The Demise of the Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns

Following the Suns was a fun ride while it lasted

The 2005-2006 Phoenix Suns might have been my favorite NBA team of all time. This was actually the first year that I ordered the NBA League Pass. I had this Suns team on my radar as one of teams to watch, but less than 2 weeks into the season it was clear to me that not only were the Suns a team to watch, but all Suns games were “can’t miss TV”.

This Suns team might have won the championship, but they played outstanding basketball and were by far the most entertaining team in the league. Here was that lineup:

C – Boris Diaw
F – Shawn Marion
F – Tim Thomas
G – Raja Bell
G – Steve Nash

Bench – Leandro Barbosa, Eddie House, James Jones, Kurt Thomas

Could you find a more unselfish group than that? I know that Marion and Tim Thomas might not be the most unselfish human beings on the planet, but on the court these guys were both excellent team players. Nash was the engine that made everyone go; Marion his perfect running mate; Bell added toughness and defense; Thomas hit nearly every big 3; Diaw flourished maybe more than anyone in this style; Barbosa broke out as a borderline All-Star caliber player; and House came off the bench at about 200 miles per hour. The whole team was just a joy to watch offensively.

Last year, they lost Tim Thomas and Eddie House but got Amare Stoudamire back from injury. They still somewhat resembled the run and gun Suns from the previous year, but the unselfishness was gone. A lot of the ball movement had disappeared on offense, thanks to the black hole known as Stoudamire.

Turn the page to this year and the Suns add Grant Hill while keeping most of the core from last year in tact. Now Hill is a great team guy and fit this system perfectly. Everything this season looked great as the Suns had the second best record in the West. The Spurs are struggling with Duncan, Bowen and Horry a year older and the Mavs not looking as good as they had in the past.

And what do the Suns do? Trade their second most important player for a fat, old, washed up Shaq! I still can’t get over this trade. How could the Suns have pulled the trigger on this? Now, not only do they have ballhog Amare clogging up the middle, but they’re going to have fat Shaq camped out there as well?! Forget about running now whenever Shaq is in the lineup. And you can also forget about getting anywhere near the amount of open shots the 2005-2006 team got since they won’t be able to spacing the floor or work the ball around on offense.

You thought Diaw was useless with Stoudamire on the team? Now with Shaq in the mix, he’ll have even less value. As far as Barbosa goes, its going to be harder for him to run or drive (the two things he does best) and he’ll have less open looks now. And if you thought Shaq is going to help their rebounding… Marion is a better rebounder (from the SF position) than either Shaq or Amare. Marion was also an excellent defender and the Suns most versatile defender. Shaq might be the least versatile defender in the league.

Maybe I am wrong and the Suns will make me look like an idiot by winning it all this year, riding a re-invigorated Shaq all the way through the June. But I probably won’t be cheering them on… at least not like I have the past two years. I still love Steve Nash, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa and maybe even Grant Hill. But I just can’t get into this team and don’t believe in what they are doing.

I also find Amare Stoudamire to be one of the most unlikable guys in the league. He clearly seems like a great player, but how much better does he really make the Suns? Does he make anyone around him better? Or does he do just the opposite? And Shaq is just a disaster… he can’t run, he can’t shoot free throws, he can’t defend, and he can’t do anything outside of the paint. He is the anti-Marion. Well, Marion absolutely flourished in this system and I just can’t fathom why the Suns would trade him away for so little. As Jim Rome said, adding Shaq seems like subtraction by addition for the Suns. So now the Suns are a worse team, less entertaining and less likable.

I hate you, Steve Kerr.

NBA Web Roundup: Trades, a Failed Proposal and the FroHawk

Oden’s Mohawk

Greg Oden is sporting a new look

Top links from around the NBA:

And for our video, we have Steve Nash using Craig Sager as his personal handkerchief. I love how Sager tries to pretend this doesn’t happen right after. Thanks to FanIQ for finding this.