The preseason doesn’t mean anything. So goes the old wisdom. But wiser heads know they wouldn’t play it if it didn’t. Sure, you can’t judge much about the Memphis Grizzlies on the their 102-97 preseason victory over Orlando — Marc Gasol didn’t even play. But longtime NBA fans, set adrift by the retirements of Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, will note a certain name in the box score with some joy. The never-ending career of the indomitable Vince Carter continues.
But is Carter destined to go out primarily as a 3-point marksman? He took four shots against Orlando in 14 minutes, all of them 3-point attempts. Last year 3.5 of Carter’s 6.2 field goal attempts were 3s — a large percentage. (Carter made a career low percentage of 3s — not counting his rookie year –at .297 too.) If he’s no longer the Vinsanity basket attacker he once was, that’s to be understood. But here’s hoping Carter throws in a little mid-range jumper action and gets to the line some this season in Memphis. He’s still too good a basketball player to be just a guy hanging out on the arc. Which is why Vince Carter is still in the NBA, where he’s been since 1998.