For the Dallas Mavericks, fans assume that backup forward Vince Carter should be trade bait at the upcoming February trade deadline. They also assume that Carter won't, and should not, be in Dallas' plans next year.
But the question is, why shouldn't he be here?
Carter has been the Mavs most consistent bench player this year, and he continued that by pouring in 29 points in the Mavs' overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night.
Head coach Rick Carlisle understands Carter's value.
“We wouldn’t have been in this without him,” Carlisle said.
People seem to think that Carter shoots too much, but he has been driving to the hoop more and more this season. If you don't believe that, check out the one-handed facial he gave Thunder forward Serge Ibaka late in Friday night's game when the Mavs were down three.
Normally, you would have seen Carter jack up a three to try to tie the game. However, he understood the situation and that the Mavs had a few more seconds to work with in the overtime. He got the dunk and they fouled the Thunder to force them to win the game at the free throw line, which they did.
But in the grand scheme of things, Dallas doesn't have Jason Terry anymore. And with O.J. Mayo still trying to find consistency as a go-to scorer beside Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs need a guy who can consistently score points off the bench. Carter has taken on that role, as well as playing late in games, similar to the closing role that Terry had. Carter has even been called upon to take the last shot of a regulation that might go to overtime. Carlisle understands that he can create his own shot, get to the bucket, or pull up and shoot.
Mavs' fans have a right to who they want on the team, but they have the wrong opinion of Carter. Until roster changes, if any, occur, Dallas would be losing a big chunk of its scoring if they decide to part ways with Carter during or after the season.
And with Nowitzki still trying to round into elite form, as well as consistently getting well-rounded performances from Mayo and point guard Darren Collison, it would be wise to hang on to the former fifth overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft.
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