Vince Carter heads the list of washed up NBA veterans that don’t deserve the roster spot they’ve been given this season.
In this condensed, 66-game season, nobody is going to be able to just ride the bench and pick up a check. Every man on the roster is going to have to contribute, and those than can’t will be replaced.
With that in mind, there are a few NBA veterans that would be better off calling it a career, rather than being forced out of the lineup, whether it’s due to injury or a lack of productivity.
Vince Carter had a nice year last season as a member of the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic. He shot well from the perimeter and occasionally flashed the dazzling athleticism that made him a staple in dunk contests earlier in his career.
Both spots were perfect situations for Carter. In Orlando, Dwight Howard’s presence created open looks for him on offense and bailed him out on defense. In Phoenix, Steve Nash created open shots for Carter, and he really wasn’t asked to do a whole lot on the defensive end.
That’s all well and good, but don’t expect Carter to continue his renaissance with the Dallas Mavericks. On a team already full of older players, Carter won’t be able to rely as much on his teammates to create opportunities. The presence of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd will help on offense, but defensively, there’s nobody on the Mavs to bail him out.
Carter has never focused particularly hard on his defensive game, but when he lines up alongside Kidd, the Mavericks will be giving away a ton of quickness in the backcourt to teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Once Rick Carlisle realizes how much he is sacrificing on the defensive end with Carter, expect Jason Terry and Rodrigue Beaubois to start cutting into his minutes.
Since he left the Orlando Magic, Hedo Turkoglu hasn’t been the same player. His scoring average has dropped down below 12 points per game, after peaking at nearly 20 points per game in 2007-2008.
Turkoglu’s unique skill set helped to lead the Magic all the way to the NBA Finals, but unfortunately, his abilities don’t age well.
Turkoglu was successful because of his ability to penetrate and create for others, even at 6’10”. His height still allows him to shoot over smaller forwards, but the quickness and jumping ability that helped him to worm his way through defenses has waned.
His rebounding numbers bear it out. Turkoglu’s rebounding average has dropped in every season since 2007, dropping from nearly six rebounds per game that year to only four rebounds per game in Phoenix last season.
Turkoglu has never been a great rebounder, but that decline illustrates the general lack of bounce and athleticism in his game.
His ability as a penetrator and creator is slipping away, and the the NBA doesn’t have much room for slow-footed frontcourt players that don’t rebound.
Jerry Stackhouse has always been a volume scorer; his career field goal percentage is barely 40 percent. As he’s aged, his jump shooting has only gotten worse. He’s shot better than 35 percent from three-point range only once since 2003.
As a bench player, Stackhouse can only succeed if the entire offense runs through him while he’s on the floor. He’s not a good enough shooter to wait for others to create for him.
He demonstrated this in his short stint with the Miami Heat, when he shot only 25 percent from the field in just seven games. Based on that recent performance, there’s no reason the believe that he’ll be a worthwhile addition to the Atlanta Hawks.
There isn’t a bigger defensive liability in the league than Mike Bibby.
He lacks the lateral quickness to stay in front of penetrating guards, the height to contest shooters and the size to body up on bigger players.
Jason Kidd ate him up in the NBA Finals last season, and in a league driven by a blossoming young generation of star point guards, a team that wants to compete for a championship can’t have such a terrible defender at the point.
The New York Knicks will be much better off when Baron Davis can get back into the lineup, but even before then, Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert are better options at point guard than Bibby.
Jamaal Tinsley is going to get hurt. It’s inevitable.
In his eight-year NBA career, Tinsley has played more than 75 games just once, and that was his rookie season back in 2001. Since then, he’s played in more than 45 games only twice.
Tinsley’s field goal and three-point shooting percentages have declined in each of the last three seasons. He bottomed out at 37 percent and 18 percent, respectively, last season. Tinsley’s always been a better passer than shooter, but even for a pass-first point guard, those shooting numbers are putrid.
At this point in his career, Tinsley isn’t able to contribute much, and hasn’t proven that he can maintain that contribution for more than half a season. Surely, the Utah Jazz can find a younger, developmental point guard prospect to provide even a little bit of upside as a backup.
As the primary backup to Derek Fisher, Steve Blake doesn’t provide much of a change of pace.
Both players are old and slow, and neither contributes much beyond the ability to knock down a wide open three-pointer.
With Lamar Odom out of town and the rest of the roster getting older, the Los Angeles Lakers can’t afford to have such a glaring lack of production from the bench. Last season, Blake was only able to chip in four points and two assists per game, even as he averaged 20 minutes a night.
The Lakers really need their substitutes to step up this season, but at this point in his career, Blake just isn’t capable to doing that. Without any chance of being even an average point guard, Steve Blake would be better off just hanging ‘em up.