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Ranking the NBA’s 30 Go-To Guys (#15: Vince Carter)

By 11.04.10

Who do you want your offense to run through with the game on the line? Counting down from 30th to 1st (one per team), I’ve ranked the League’s go-to guys…

VINCE CARTER, Orlando Magic
Vince Carter sucks. Really, he does. He’s soft, he’s always hurt, he’s not clutch … he’s the biggest waste of talent the NBA has ever seen, bar none.

Check the stats.

The guy has been in the League for over a dozen years and has only scored 19,540 points (as of Thursday); there’s THIRTY-NINE players ahead of him all-time, including non-champions like Bernard King, John Stockton and George Gervin. I mean, Vince will pass those three this year if his frail body holds up for a 13th season, but anybody could score 19K if they were the focal point of their team’s offense for so long.

And Vince’s 22.9 points per game is only 23rd all-time. But the only reason he’s higher than Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and Paul Pierce is that he was lucky enough to play with Jason Kidd for, like, three years. Even if you take out the J-Kidd years, anybody could have put up those numbers with Alvin Williams and Milt Palacio passing them the ball.

Speaking of passing, Vince doesn’t know the meaning of the word. He’s selfish. Vince has only 3,560 assists in his career, lower than 115 players all-time. Maybe he has more dimes than Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond and Julius Erving, but those guys were score-first players that were all about the team.

But forget all-time. This is about now. Last year Vince averaged 16.6 points for the Magic, and how he couldn’t drop 20 a night, I have no idea. The 48-point game against the Hornets was a mirage; the real VC was the guy who didn’t show up in the playoffs, who only dropped 15.5 ppg during Orlando’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals. He should have watched tapes of Ray Allen, a real playoff killer. Ray lit ’em up for 16.1 ppg in the postseason, including 15.6 in the ECF matchup with Vince. In that series, Carter only scored 13.6 ppg. That’s one whole shot per game.

And clutch? Please. Some people wanna give VC credit for leading the Raptors within one shot of the ’01 Eastern Conference Finals as a third-year player, but that was a lifetime ago. What has he done when it counts? Vince has averaged 23.3 points, 6.2 boards and 4.5 assists in the postseason. Nine other players have put up at least 23-6-4 in the playoffs — Jordan, Dr. J, Bird, Elgin Baylor, LeBron, Rick Barry, Connie Hawkins, T-Mac, Elton Brand — but guess what? Vince has the lowest field-goals-made per game out of all of them. So he’s not even really getting buckets like that.

The numbers don’t lie. According to 82games.com, last year Vince averaged 39.8 points per 48 minutes of “clutch time.” He was worse than Rip Hamilton in that regard, and worse than — count ’em — FIVE other players in the League.

And worst of all, Vince is a known quitter. He admitted that he didn’t always play 100 percent when he was with Toronto. And if you watch as much NBA basketball as I do, you know that pretty much every NBA player plays at 100 percent every night, without fail. Some people call it “cruise control,” some might call it “pacing yourself,” but whatever: True ballplayers go all out, all night. Kobe Bryant never quits. I remember the summer of ’07. I watched the 2006 playoffs. I saw Kobe’s 48-minute display of sheer effort every night.

Bottom line: Vince is done. And really, he never was all that in the first place. Orlando got Vince to be their closer, and all they had to show for it was 59 regular-season wins last year and a conference finals exit. But that’s what you get for putting your crunch-time eggs in a guy who has obviously proven he doesn’t produce in crunch-time.

All you have to do is look at his hands. Where are the championship rings, dude? Everybody knows all great players have rings. What a bum.

*** *** ***

16. Gilbert Arenas (Wizards)
17. Amar’e Stoudemire (Knicks)
18. Monta Ellis (Warriors)
19. Danny Granger (Pacers)
20. John Salmons (Bucks)
21. Rudy Gay (Grizzlies)
22. Stephen Jackson (Bobcats)
23. Baron Davis (Clippers)
24. Ben Gordon (Pistons)
25. Andre Iguodala (76ers)
26. Yao Ming (Rockets)
27. Mo Williams (Cavaliers)
28. Brook Lopez (Nets)
29. Andrea Bargnani (Raptors)
30. Michael Beasley (Timberwolves)

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TAGSBernard KingCHARLES BARKLEYCHRIS MULLINDimeMagElgin BaylorElton BrandGeorge GervinHAKEEM OLAJUWONJASON KIDDJOHN STOCKTONJULIUS ERVINGLarry BirdMichael JordanMitch RichmondPAUL PIERCERAY ALLENRick BarryTRACY MCGRADYVINCE CARTER

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