DALLAS — Age is nothing but a number to eight-time NBA All-Star Vince Carter.
The versatile swingman enters the upcoming season as the oldest player on the Dallas Mavericks’ roster at 36, but you couldn’t tell by his production last year while starring in a sixth man role off the bench. And after committing to an offseason conditioning progress to shed weight, a lighter Carter will try to pick back up where he left off at when averaging 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists an outing while appearing in 81 of the team’s 82 games last season.
“Personally, just remain consistent and be the spark off the bench I’ve been,” Carter said when asked his individual goal for his 16th season. “Just bring the energy and when my number is called be ready to go, ready to put the ball in the basket and just uplift the team if need be. That’s been what’s needed and I want to continue to do so.
“I just try to approach it like I did last year — same type of routine all season. I’ll be a year older but I don’t feel a year older, you know, so that’s a good thing. … I don’t want to get too light to where I get pushed around, but every year just come in a little lighter to put less pressure on the knees and joints. Talking with different nutritionist and trying to take care of my body, that’s one of the things they always say, that you want to be lighter just to take some of the pressure off. I can tell the difference. I feel great.”
Hopeful to keep Carter performing at a high level, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle enters the season looking to maintain the former Slam Dunk champion’s minutes in the mid-twenties. Carter, however, contends that he’s ready to offer more if the coach needs it on a nightly basis.
“I do what I need to do off the court to take care of my body and make sure I’m effective, and I’ve found a way of just coming in and being effective in that time. You know, I’ve played a lot of minutes in my career, but I’ve learned how to kind of get it done in a short period of time and it’s all good,” Carter explained.
He added: “You have to be ready to play. It’s one thing as a starter; you’re playing starter minutes and you know how to work your way into it the first couple of minutes. As a bench player, you come in and you’ve got to be ready to go, and that’s kind of been my mentality. I’m just ready to go. It’s no problem.”
Since joining the Mavs before the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, Carter has averaged just over 25 minutes a night. With new additions Monta Ellis, Devin Harris and Wayne Ellington all figuring to be at Carlisle’s disposal at the shooting guard position during the season, there likely won’t be a need to run up Carter’s minutes beyond that. And it’s the Mavs’ added depth that has the coach hoping to play at a high-octane pace with the new-look team.
“I view it really the same as all the guys, even the younger guys. I mean, if you played them for 10 or 11 minutes in a row, it’s going to be hard for them to go full board the way they can if they go seven or eight minutes in a row,” Carlisle said. “Ideally, we want a deep team. We want guys in the game playing at full capacity and till exhaustion, and then when they get tired we’ve got other guys going in.”
Note: FOX Sports Southwest, the television home of the Dallas Mavericks, will introduce the new players on the team’s 2013-2014 roster in a three-part series.
One-On-One With the Dallas Mavericks features three episodes profiling three different players on each show beginning Friday, Oct. 4 at 6:00 p.m. CT.
The players highlighted include newcomers Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Gal Mekel, Monta Ellis, Ricky Ledo, Devin Harris, Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair and Wayne Ellington.
FOX Sports Southwest Mavericks play-by-play announcer Mark Followill and Mavericks radio play-by-play voice Chuck Cooperstein host the series.
The shows will give fans an opportunity to get to know the players as the team embarks on the season. Each episode will provide in-depth looks at the featured players from their childhoods to how they became Dallas Mavericks.