Let the Vin-sanity begin! (AP Photo/Matt York)

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Let the Vin-sanity begin! (AP Photo/Matt York)

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Vin-sanity is about to begin in earnest.

The true "this season" impact of the Orlando/Phoenix trade will finally make his debut for the Suns, as long as his knee does not swell up again overnight. If Vince plays well for the next 52 games, the Suns will very likely make the playoffs. If he plays poorly, well... the spring will be interesting nonetheless.

Marcin Gortat and Mikael Pietrus have whet our appetites a bit in their first two games. Pietrus played good defense and scored 25 surprising points against the Clippers on Sunday, while Gortat contributed 11 points and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes at backup center. With those two in the Suns' rotation, team defense is visibly improved (even if it's not showing yet in the results).

Now the question is: W.W.V.B., or 'What Will Vince Bring'?

According to Paul Coro of the AZ Republic, Vince Carter will make his season debut tonight against the Sixers. And not one person in that building will know the answer to WWVB until the game is over. In fact, we probably won't have an educated answer (ie. not laced 90% with personal prognostication) for another month or so.

Here's what we do know:

  1. For his entire career, Vince Carter has been a better player than the man he replaces, Jason Richardson.
  2. Carter has had a starting role on more winning teams than Jason Richardson, appearing in 56 playoff games over 6 playoff-qualifying seasons (vs. 2 playoff seasons for J-Rich)
  3. Despite his knicked-up reputation, he has missed 18 games in the 5 seasons before this one. That's less than 4 per year, for those who are arithmetically challenged
Few of us are excited about Vince Carter on the Phoenix Suns. Many dream of the Suns without Vince Carter, either trading him for a different player entirely or just simply relegating him to the bench.

But let's be reasonable here.

WWVB? Carter will upgrade the team's talent level when he steps on that court. He commands defensive attention and can score in many different ways. Sure he's 33, but he was still getting 15 points on 30 minutes a night for the Orlando Magic - basically the same as Jason Richardson produced in his first stint with the Suns in 2009.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Vince Carter 22 30.2 5.7 12.1 47.0 1.2 3.5 34.6 2.5 3.4 74.7 0.5 3.6 4.1 2.9 1.6 0.9 0.1 3.2 15.1

J-Rich gave the Suns 16.4 points on 33 minutes in his first Suns season, along with 4.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.1 steals. He was known as a go-to player who took a lot of shots and was at his best when given the ball in the post or in transition. Richardson did not become a spot-up 3-point shooter until the next season, remember.

WWVB? Vince Carter will basically replace the 2009 Jason Richardson in terms of stats. In fact, he will likely be better.

No, he's not going to be a volume, high-percentage spot-up bomber. But he's a darn good #2 option on a team that needs a consistent #2 option. You cannot sustain any predictability when you're big points are coming from Jared Dudley and Mikael Pietrus.

WWVB? Vince requires the opposing team to defend him with their best perimeter defender. Ask Shaq. That's what reputation gives you. Andre Iguodala gets the assignment tonight. Defenses will no longer be able to key their entire defense on Nash. Miami gave Nash all the passes he wanted, but wouldn't let him shoot. Other teams have done the opposite (open shots but no passing lanes). With Carter in the lineup, you can't just key on Nash anymore. 

WWVB? Relief, in some measure, for Steve Nash and Grant Hill. Carter will get more defensive respect than Jason Richardson ever did.

On to tonight's opponent - the Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers have played better of late, but they still are only 12-19. Finally, the Suns play consecutive games against bottom-feeders. Let's see if they can make this one count.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Elton Brand 30 34.0 6.0 12.0 50.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.0 3.8 79.8 3.8 5.2 9.0 1.5 1.5 1.4 1.3 3.3 15.1
Andre Iguodala 25 37.6 5.1 11.7 43.8 0.9 2.5 34.9 3.1 4.6 66.4 1.0 5.2 6.1 5.5 1.8 1.3 0.6 1.7 14.2
Jrue Holiday 31 34.1 5.1 12.0 42.6 1.0 2.8 35.6 2.6 3.2 80.0 1.0 2.7 3.7 6.3 2.8 1.3 0.3 3.0 13.8
Louis Williams 29 21.7 3.4 9.2 36.8 1.0 3.1 33.3 4.0 4.8 84.2 0.2 1.4 1.6 3.4 1.6 0.6 0.1 1.7 11.8
Thaddeus Young 31 24.7 5.0 8.9 56.0 0.1 0.5 28.6 1.4 1.9 74.6 1.7 3.2 4.9 1.2 1.0 0.9 0.3 1.9 11.5
Jodie Meeks 23 25.3 3.0 7.5 39.9 1.6 4.2 38.1 2.5 2.9 86.6 0.1 1.3 1.4 0.9 0.9 0.7 0.1 0.9 10.1
Spencer Hawes 31 20.4 3.2 6.9 46.0 0.2 0.6 33.3 0.5 1.3 41.0 1.4 4.1 5.5 1.5 1.2 0.3 1.0 2.6 7.0
Andres Nocioni 27 18.6 2.5 6.1 41.5 1.0 2.7 35.1 0.8 1.0 77.8 0.3 2.9 3.1 0.7 1.0 0.4 0.4 2.0 6.8
Evan Turner 29 23.9 2.4 6.4 38.4 0.1 0.5 14.3 1.3 1.8 73.1 0.5 3.9 4.4 1.8 1.2 0.6 0.2 2.1 6.3
Marreese Speights 25 11.9 2.0 4.6 44.7 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.7 1.0 70.8 0.8 2.5 3.3 0.4 0.8 0.2 0.3 2.2 4.8
Craig Brackins 2 10.0 2.0 5.5 36.4 0.0 1.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.5 1.5 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0 1.0 4.0
Tony Battie 21 11.1 1.4 2.8 51.7 0.0 0.1 50.0 0.2 0.4 44.4 0.6 2.4 3.0 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.6 1.4 3.1
Darius Songaila 5 7.4 0.8 1.8 44.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.8 1.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.6 1.6
Jason Kapono 10 7.0 0.5 1.6 31.3 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.1 100.0 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.0 0.1 1.1


Jrue Holiday was supposed to be a breakout star this season, and just might show the Suns that he's a star in the making. Or not. Holiday and Dragic have nearly identical numbers on a per-36-minute basis. Sure, Holiday's doing it while Dragic just "projects" to match that, but still the difference is not great.

Iguodala and Brand are the other horses in their lineup. Good for Elton Brand for reprising his role a bit as a go-to PF, but please don't waste too much comment space on rosterbation with this guy. Watch him in the game tonight first, and see how he can barely move anymore. As a go-to guy on a bad team, he's barely getting 15 points a game. The Suns do NOT need Brand. In fact, I think Frye can be particularly effective against Brand, who isn't fast enough to beat Frye off the dribble and can't shoot over him either. 

The Suns have to hope the Sixers don't play over their heads tonight.

The Suns need to come out with energy that was clearly lacking in the first half on Sunday. They need to play aggressive, hard-nosed defense. They need to play like a winning team.


Good links

Will Vince Carter be the answer to all the Suns problems? Tune in tonight to find out.

Points have not come as easily on offense this season for Phoenix. Vince Carter can change that.

Republic's Paul Coro reports that, as long as swelling does not return, Vince will take the court against Philly. He made it through a full practice yesterday.





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