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.”
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)
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.
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