It's campaign season in the NBA; that time of year when teams push their own players for various awards.
And where there are promotions to be made, you can always count Mark Cuban and his Dallas Mavericks to get in on the action. The Mavs are pulling out all the stops to make sure veteran shooting guard Vince Carter is considered for the 2013-14 Sixth Man of the Year award.
The Mavericks' promotional department passed out 15,000 t-shirts promoting Carter for the Sixth Man award before Tuesday's game against the Golden State Warriors.
Dallas doubled down on the promotion by releasing this video on their official YouTube channel:
After Tuesday's game, those Carter statistical highlights off the bench now include:
- 194 assists
- 303 made field goals
- 1810 minutes played
- 896 points
- 132 made three-point field goals
Carter is averaging 12.1 points per game for Dallas this season. If he keeps up that pace for the rest of the season, Carter will join Michael Jordan, Grant Hill, Reggie Miller and Dominique Wilkins as the only wing players to ever average at least 12 points per game in a season at age 37 or older.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle believes Carter has brought a critical veteran presence to this team, per ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon:
We knew he was a good player. There was never any doubt about that. He was mostly a starter for us that first year. Then when [Jason] Terry left, he wanted to take over that role. For these two years, he’s been a really important part of our attack, important part of our personality of our team. He’s a terrific guy and he’s played really well for us.
But does that mean Carter will win the Sixth Man award? Even MacMahon has his doubts: "Carter is certainly deserving of consideration, but he probably ranks behind the Clippers’ Jamal Crawford, Bulls’ Taj Gibson and Suns’ Markieff Morris among worthy candidates."
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Carter ranks 12th in win shares, behind not only Crawford, Gibson and Morris, but no less than four members of the San Antonio Spurs (Marco Belinelli, Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills).
Though Carter likely won't win any awards for his performance off the bench this season, he has been a critical factor in the Mavericks' success. If they can make the playoffs—and they are currently tied with the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns for the last two spots in the Western Conference—Carter will be a huge reason why.
*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.