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OutletPass
10-02-2003, 02:13 PM
Carter prepared to make statement
By Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Send an Email to Chad Ford Thursday, October 2
Updated: October 2
2:16 PM ET


Life is short. And the career of an NBA superstar can be even shorter. One minute you're dunking in a Gatorade commercial. The next you're on a trainer's table wondering when the free fall will stop. For Vince Carter, a jumper's knee kept Air Canada grounded most of the year. For Alonzo Mourning, his sudden career detour took the form of a dangerous kidney ailment. And for Andre Miller, one year with the Clippers seemingly poisoned a promising career. This year, 13 players are looking for an inspiring comeback. The rehab is finished. The scenery has changed. The new head coach turns out to be a friend instead of foe. Redemption could be just a few weeks away ...

Vince Carter is convinced his knee problems are a thing of the past.

Vince Carter, G/F, Raptors -- Vince Carter knows you've taken down the posters. The fatal comparisons to Michael Jordan have long since been drowned out by the haters who scream overrated and soft wherever he goes. Carter has no friends, just memories of what was and what was supposed to be. Two seasons of injuries have left the Raptors destitute and Carter's image tarnished. An impressive showing at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico has done little to silence the critics. He knows that the key to his career, and your adoration, comes on the court. It comes with playing time, consistency, fire and ultimately a serious run in the playoffs. The fire, Carter contends, is ignited. The knees, he argues, are ready to push him into flight. The wins, he declares, are going to come. If he's right, the Raptors' fortunes will reappear. If it's just talk, then Carter's career and the Raptors' playoff hopes were nothing but a mirage to begin with.


Alonzo Mourning, C, Nets -- Call him LaZOrus. Mourning's career has been dead twice now, only to miraculously resurrect when all hope had died along with it. After three tumultuous on-again off-again years with the Heat, Zo spurned Pat Riley and Mark Cuban to join Jason Kidd in New Jersey. Zo's presence in New Jersey will be appreciated whether he ever plays a game or not. With him, the Nets have the best inside outside tandem this side of the Lakers. If he stays healthy (doctors are insisting he is) and returns to form, the Nets will dominate. If he can't last the season, his courageous comeback won't be for naught. Without him, Kidd looked ready to bolt New Jersey, and without Kidd, no amount of miracles could have saved the Nets from dying a premature death.


Andre Miller, G, Nuggets -- Once tabbed as the best young point guard in the league, Miller came down with the most fatal of all NBA related injuries last season -- Clipperitis. The malady sapped Miller of all will to live, took away his court vision, and left him wandering aimlessly around the Staples Center looking for the ball and his jump shot. Miller's decision to bolt L.A. was a no brainer. His decision to come to Denver, however, was quite a shocker. From all outside appearances, the Jazz and their structured offensive system were a better fit. But Miller wanted to shun the familiar and go to a place where the expectations on him, and his team, were muted. In Denver, Miller should return to the form that made him such a coveted commodity in Cleveland. The team is young, unselfish and will push the ball at a relentless pace. If a few of Miller's teammates can finish, he should be back up to his 10 apg average.


Mike Bibby, G, Kings -- Statistically, Bibby had one of the best seasons of his career. But after a stellar performance in the 2002 playoffs and a huge contract extension, the Kings expected Bibby to become the heart and soul of the team. An early injury seemed to keep Bibby from regaining the form that led the Kings to the brink of the NBA Finals. His defense and leadership skills never developed and the Kings were left with a good, but not great, point guard running the show. If Bibby can get it going early, and regain the confidence he once had, there's no reason why he couldn't score 18 points and had out six assists per game.


Antonio McDyess, F, Knicks -- The good news is that the Knicks finally addressed their future and got a promising young player, Michael Sweetney, to play the four should McDyess fail to emerge from rehab hell this season. The bad news is that the early indications are that the Knicks will have to use him. McDyess' rehab is going slowly and no one on the Knicks knows for sure if or when McDyess will be returning. If he does, he has the potential to put up monster numbers in the vertically challenged East. Given that McDyess is in a contract year, he has the motivation. But at 29 years old, will he have the explosiveness that defined his career in Denver?


Marcus Camby, C, Nuggets -- Stop laughing for a second while I dream about a healthy Camby. Yes, we all know he's a splinter away from spending the year on the injured list, but maybe, just maybe, this is the year that the stars align for Camby. By all accounts he's healthy, stronger and in the best shape of his career. He'll have plenty of opportunities to score on the offensively challenged Nuggets, and the last time Camby was in a contract year, he had a breakout season. Just please don't wake me up when he decides to have season ending surgery on that stubbed toe.

Raef LaFrentz could end up being the Mavs' best option in the paint.

Raef LaFrentz, F/C, Mavs -- A mere 18 months ago, LaFrentz was one of the most coveted young big men in the game. Sixty million dollars and a miserable season in Dallas later, he's an untouchable. The Mavs tried hard to move the big fella for a tough guy to man the paint, but no one would get near him. That may prove to be a mistake. LaFrentz is a good shooter and a serious high-post threat on most teams. But on a team filled with shooters, he was often the odd man out. He's vowed to come back stronger and more defensive minded. If he does, he could be the Mavs' best, and only, option in the paint.


Quentin Richardson, G, Clippers -- By the end of the 2002 regular season, Richardson was a legit sixth man of the year candidate with his 3-point shooting and rebounding prowess. By the end of the 2003 regular season, Richardson was an afterthought on a bad Clippers team. He lost his shot, his minutes and his confidence along the way. Now with the backcourt considerably thinned out (Andre Miller and Eric Piatkowski are gone, Corey Maggette will move to small forward) Richardson has golden opportunity to be the Clips starting two guard. He's been working out in Chicago all summer and seems to have found his stroke and his confidence again. It couldn't come at a better time. If Q doesn't come through, his chances of getting big money in restricted free agency next summer are nil.


Austin Croshere, F, Pacers -- After a promising performance in the Finals versus the Lakers three seasons ago, Croshere looked like he was on the verge of stardom. A huge contract, a hostile coach and three years not only erased the promise, it almost erased all hope for Croshere's career. Then a miracle happened. The two guys who believed in him, Larry Bird and Rick Carlisle, both came back to Indiana. Croshere will no longer be an afterthought on the Pacers. While there still appears to be a logjam at the forward position, look for Croshere to get consistent, meaningful minutes (and numbers) in Indiana this year.


Ron Mercer, G/F, Spurs -- Remember when Rick Pitino was so convinced that Mercer, in his third season with the Celtics, was going to be a max player that he traded him for Danny Fortson? Pitino worried that the Celtics couldn't afford him. Oh, how times have changed. Mercer's career has been on the down low since he was shipped out of Boston. A few years in Chicago trying to be the man didn't help his image around the league and he became a forgotten man on the Pacers last season. Things are about to change. Mercer is now looking at meaningful minutes on a championship contender. Although Mercer does nothing extraordinary, Tim Duncan has a way of turning ordinary players into good ones (Are you listening Stephen Jackson?). My guess is all of those wide open jumpers will put Mercer back on the map this season.


Danny Fortson, F, Mavs -- While we're on memory lane, who remembers when Fortson was one of the top three rebounders in the league? It wasn't that long ago. Last year's disaster struck when a new coach, and a much improved Troy Murphy, pushed Fortson from rebounding heaven to the end of the bench. In Dallas he has the chance to return to form. The Mavs need Fortson's toughness and rebounding in the worst way. If he keeps his head on straight, and stays away from those hideous fall-away jumpers, there is no reason why he couldn't be the Mavs' leading rebounder this season.


Marc Jackson, C, 76ers -- Three seasons ago, Jackson was a serious candidate for Rookie of the Year honors. Then came a contract dispute with the Warriors and two seasons coming off the bench in Minnesota. Now with a move to the center-depleted East, Jackson has a chance to shine again. The Sixers really have no one else at center (I refuse to label Derrick Coleman a center), which means that Jackson should finally get the minutes and touches he needs to be a serious center in the league.


Elden Campbell, C, Pistons -- Campbell had finally shed the label of "serviceable" just before a disastrous 2002-03 campaign saw him get injured, lose his starting job and ultimately get traded to Seattle. In Detroit, he won't be asked to carry much of the load, but offensively, he, along with Mehmet Okur, is the team's best answer in the paint. Larry Brown wants to get his big men involved on the offensive end and Campbell, now healthy and focused, could be the recipient.

dirno2000
10-02-2003, 02:19 PM
I'd be really suprised if he (Fortson) plays enough minutes to be our leading rebounder.

mmmfast
10-02-2003, 02:30 PM
NO WAY Fortson pulls more boards than Dirk.
Close(I hope), but not more.

Murphy3
10-02-2003, 02:59 PM
Raef LaFrentz, F/C, Mavs -- A mere 18 months ago, LaFrentz was one of the most coveted young big men in the game. Sixty million dollars and a miserable season in Dallas later, he's an untouchable. The Mavs tried hard to move the big fella for a tough guy to man the paint, but no one would get near him. That may prove to be a mistake. LaFrentz is a good shooter and a serious high-post threat on most teams. But on a team filled with shooters, he was often the odd man out. He's vowed to come back stronger and more defensive minded. If he does, he could be the Mavs' best, and only, option in the paint.

does this guy not follow the mavs? dirk has already become an option in the paint and will continue to establish himself as more of an option as he progresses throughout this season

kg_veteran
10-02-2003, 03:27 PM
If he keeps his head on straight, and stays away from those hideous fall-away jumpers, there is no reason why he couldn't be the Mavs' leading rebounder this season.

Is he going to get 10 boards in 10-15 mpg? If so, I'll be thoroughly impressed.

kg_veteran
10-02-2003, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3

Raef LaFrentz, F/C, Mavs -- A mere 18 months ago, LaFrentz was one of the most coveted young big men in the game. Sixty million dollars and a miserable season in Dallas later, he's an untouchable. The Mavs tried hard to move the big fella for a tough guy to man the paint, but no one would get near him. That may prove to be a mistake. LaFrentz is a good shooter and a serious high-post threat on most teams. But on a team filled with shooters, he was often the odd man out. He's vowed to come back stronger and more defensive minded. If he does, he could be the Mavs' best, and only, option in the paint.

does this guy not follow the mavs? dirk has already become an option in the paint and will continue to establish himself as more of an option as he progresses throughout this season

A good question. Dirk's not a dominant low post player, and he doesn't even really prefer to be there, but he's definitely effective there.

Also, Jamison seems to be a pretty decent low post player himself.

The writer is regurgitating misconceptions.

Nash13
10-02-2003, 03:36 PM
All though it would be really nice to see Dirk go in the paint, it isn't necessary. To me, this was the best reason why the GS trade was a brilliant idea. With Jamison now in, and the prospect of Raef Lafrentz building muscles, Dirk doesn't need to change his game on offense(except passing).

Murphy3
10-02-2003, 03:50 PM
It is necessary for Dirk to be in the paint. Dirk must step up to the next level in his preparation as one of the greater players in the history of the league. For their mavs to continue their progression towards a title, dirk must continue his progression.

Stunting dirk's growth as an individual player will only set the mavs back in the long run. To do so would not be in their best interest.

Murphy3
10-02-2003, 03:53 PM
one question..why do you think the mavs want dirk to work on his passing? So that he can be a better passer out of the low post.

Hitman
10-02-2003, 04:13 PM
Murphy, writers just don't get it. Dirk is THE option in the paint. When the game is on the line, Dirk Nowitzki needs his hands on the ball down low. He will either score, get fouled or pass out of a double team.

There is no other way.

I don't care if Raef improves onehundred fold in the paint, that does not make him a more desirable option down there than Nowitzki.

Murphy3
10-02-2003, 04:27 PM
As The Fonze would say..
Exactamundo

kg_veteran
10-02-2003, 04:31 PM
Originally posted by: Hitman
Murphy, writers just don't get it. Dirk is THE option in the paint. When the game is on the line, Dirk Nowitzki needs his hands on the ball down low. He will either score, get fouled or pass out of a double team.

There is no other way.

The truth.

Championship teams put the ball in the hands of their best player when the game is on the line and let him go to work. The Mavericks are slowly working toward that as Nowitzki continues to mature. More than anything else, whether the Mavericks will ever win a title with this group depends on whether Nowitzki becomes THE go-to guy with the ball in the closing moments of important games.

If all goes according to plan this season, Nowitzki will be THE reason that Finley, Nash and Jamison's respective jobs are much easier offensively.

madape
10-02-2003, 07:42 PM
ESPN predicted that Najera would be the Mav's leading rebounder last year. No one pays attention to the Mavs.

Murphy3
10-02-2003, 08:38 PM
at this point, i'd say that Bradley has as good or better low post game than Raef