Vince Carter has made a transition that few players do, evolving from former All-NBA, dynamic scorer, dunk contest winner, and team leader in his prime to a solid veteran willing to play a smaller role at age 40. The Kings wanted that kind of leadership in their locker room and signed Carter to a one-year, $8 million deal this summer.
It’s not clear how much longer he will play after that. When he does retire, could he come back to Toronto to see his jersey in the rafters? Raptors president Masai Ujuri hinted at that.
The Raptors are one of two teams with no retired numbers (the Clippers are the other).
Carter spent six-and-a-half seasons in Toronto, where he averaged 23.4 points per game, was a five-time All-Star and a highlight factory — we all remember him in the dunk contest in that purple Raptors jersey — but the ending was not pretty. Toronto fans have moved on, and it would be great to see Carter’s jersey hanging above the court in Toronto.
The players union released its long-anticipated long-overdue awards, and there are some doozies. First of all, I still can’t figure out what Chris Bosh – who was announced as the “host” of the Twitter-released awards – has to do with this. But let’s get to the actual winners.
Here are the major awards, with the traditional award/Players Voice equivalent:
No surprise Westbrook won both MVPs. He deserved them. Still, James Harden could’ve hoped for a split result like in 2015, when Stephen Curry won actual MVP and Harden won the players’ version.
There’s obviously slight differences in the other categories. I think Green had the best defensive season and deservedly won Defensive Player of the Year, but I also think Leonard is the NBA’s best defender and therefore deserved this honor. I would’ve picked Andre Iguodala for Best off the Bench (and Sixth Man of the Year, for what it’s worth), though that’s a minor quibble. But how on earth did Joel Embiid not win Best Rookie? He was the best rookie in years, let alone this season. I picked Brogdon for Rookie of the Year based on his overall contributions in far more playing time, but there should have been no question about the best rookie.
The union also released several awards without a corresponding NBA honor:
- Comeback Player of the Year: Joel Embiid
- Hardest to Guard: Russell Westbrook
- Clutch Performer: Isaiah Thomas
- Global Impact: LeBron James
- Player You Secretly Wish Was On Your Team: LeBron James
- Most Influential Veteran: Vince Carter
- Best Dressed: Russell Westbrook
- Best Social Media Follow: Joel Embiid
- Coach You’d Most Like to Play For: Gregg Popovich
- Best Home Court Advantage: Warriors
LeBron winning Player You Secretly Wish Was On Your Team has to be an implicit slap in the face to Kyrie Irving. I’m glad to see Thomas and Carter deservedly recognized.
Lastly, the union awarded a Teammate of the Year on each team:
Dirk Nowitzki won the NBA’s Teammate of the Year – which is voted on by current players after a panel of former players selects nominees – then didn’t even win for his own team here? That’s just weird.
When President Donald Trump doubled-down on his support of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who conducted a racist rally in Charlottesville, making a false moral equivalency with protestors of racism, it had television news anchors stunned, drew condemnation from both sides of the political aisle, and left most Americans queasy.
Count NBA players among those disgusted by the president’s comments.
That includes Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
(Note: As part of that press conference, Trump said he owns one of the largest wineries in the nation right near Charlottesville.)
On Monday and earlier Tuesday — before the president’s latest salvo of stupidity but after the “unite the right” rally to “protect” a statue of a man who fought to keep slavery in place, where violence the protesters courted broke out and left one woman, Heather Heyer, dead — the Bucks’ Jabari Parker took part in an anti-racism rally, and LeBron had said this about Charlotte and moving the country forward.
Chris Paul had this to say before the latest press conference.
Maybe the only good thing to come of all this, you can now own a T-shirt of vintage Team USA Vince Carter dunking over Trump.
We all love to speak in hyperbole, especially on the Internet. That’s why I think we can all relate to this Sacramento Kings fan.
In a recent video posted on YouTube Reddit, Kings fan u/ropygenie showed himself eating a page of former Sacramento coach George Karl’s recent book, “Furious George”.
Why on earth would he do this? Let’s just say a simple comment backfired.
In a harmless thread on the Kings subreddit a month ago, u/ropygenie decided to comment on a thread questioning whether Sacramento should sign Vince Carter. It certainly seemed like a stretch at the time, so u/ropygenie decided to just put it out there.
“If Vince Carter ever comes to Sacramento I’ll eat a book.”
Of course, Carter did sign with the Kings on a one-year, $8 million deal back in early July.
It then seemed unreasonable to have to eat an entire book, so instead u/ropygenie decided it to simply eat the dedication page out of Karl’s book.
A couple years ago, a 52-year-old Michael Jordan said he could beat some current Hornets one-on-one. Then-rookie Frank Kaminsky even agreed.
What about a 54-year-old Jordan?
Charlotte’s latest first-rounder, Malik Monk, is more confident about his chances against the Hornets owner.
Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:
Monk showed his cocky side Saturday, repeating that he’d beat Hornets owner Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one. Jordan might have been the greatest player of his generation – maybe ever – but, as Monk noted, he is 54.
“He’s pretty old right now,” Monk said of Jordan. “I think I can get him.”
I’ve long been intrigued about how long a star could last in the NBA if he were willing to accept any role as his production declined. Vince Carter is providing some answers.
Jordan is obviously nowhere near his Bulls peak – or even his level with the Wizards. But Jordan was solid in Washington. He could be well worse than that and still better than some current NBA players.
I don’t think it’s impossible that Jordan could beat some current players one-on-one, given not everyone’s skill set caters to that format. Jordan’s obviously does. But so does Monk’s. His specialty is individual scoring.
If Monk can’t beat Jordan one-on-one, that’s a problem for everyone involved.