The Mavericks count on Vince Carter to be their version of the “Microwave,” depending on him to provide instant offense off the bench.
But Carter, who was one of the few bright spots during the .500 disappointment last season, has yet to get cooking consistently this season.
Carter is averaging only 10.8 points per game, down from 13.4 last season. His shooting percentages are also down significantly, as he’s making only 38.3 percent of his field goal attempts and 33.8 percent of his 3-point tries. He shot 43.5 percent overall and 40.6 percent from 3-point range last season.
Carter hopes to snap out of a nasty mini-slump when the Mavs face the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. He has a total of 15 points on 6-of-23 shooting in Dallas’ two games this week.
Coach Rick Carlisle, who cringed when Carter put up a 3 after dribbling between his legs during a 3-of-13 outing in Monday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, takes part of the blame for Carter’s struggles. Carlisle said he needs to do help Carter get better shots.
“We don’t talk about it if they go in, right?” Carter said. “They’re shots I’ve hit before. I can make them. I’m going to make them.”
That’s the confidence you’d expect from a man who ranks 27th in NBA history with 22,385 career points. And Carter’s shot distribution chart doesn’t look a lot different than last season’s, although that doesn’t account for degree of difficulty due to defense.
Maybe it’s just a matter of time before Carter gets in a groove. Or perhaps Father Time has finally caught up to Carter, who turns 37 in January.
Carlisle is certain that Carter, a 16-year veteran, can still be a major asset for the Mavs. The coach went so far as to recently refer to Carter as part of the Mavs’ “Big Three” along with Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis.
But Carlisle firmly believes that Carter needs his help, along with the help of his teammates, to provide efficient scoring punch off the pine.
“He’s a confident player and he’s an attacker,” Carlisle said. “He knows that off the bench he’s got to be one of the facilitators out there. In our flow game, one of the intricacies and nuances of it is the ball has to move and it has to find the best players at the best times. We just haven’t been finding him at the best possible times. Too frequently, he ends up with the ball with the shot clock running down and just has to fling one up.
“We can do better. We have to do better. And when it comes to calling plays and things like that, we’re going to look at a few things to try to help him out.”