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30Q: What role will Vince Carter play?

Starter? Super sub? Bench mentor?

2016 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Vince Carter will be playing in his 20th NBA season, with the Sacramento Kings being his 7th NBA team. Carter will be 41 this year, and the days of Half Man/Half Amazing are mostly behind him (although he’ll still pull out some insane practice dunks from time to time). But Vinsanity put together a pretty solid season with the Memphis Grizzlies last season, shooting 37.8% from 3, averaging 8 points per game in about 25 minutes a night. It’s fair to wonder what role Carter came to Sacramento to fill.

On it’s face, it could be a chance to continue playing under a coach he got a long with well in Memphis. Carter could be slotted in as the starter at small forward until someone else steps up to the role.

But there’s also plenty of reason to think it could be something different. James Ham recently said on a podcast that he doesn’t expect Carter to start, or play heavy minutes for the Kings. He may step in at times, but he’s mostly here to be a mentor and a coach in the locker room.

As much as I’m excited to see Vince Carter, a player I’ve been watching for roughly two thirds of my life, play for the Kings, I hope he’s here more to be a mentor. Carter is one of the most respected players in the league, a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and a guy any rookie is going to be eager to listen to. I can’t think of a better influence in the locker room.

We saw VC embracing this role already at Summer League. Carter was under no obligation to attend Summer League. He not only attended, but was sitting on the bench coaching up the young guys. It was awesome to see.

On a recent episode of The Woj Pod, Jared Dudley talked about how his role in the league is to be ready to play when called upon, but his main focus is being a mentor to younger players. He talks about working with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker in Milwaukee, and now he’s working with Devin Booker in Phoenix. Listening to that episode, it becomes clear just how important those veteran leaders are to a developing young club.

Whatever production we see from Carter this season will be fun to watch, but I think his real role with the Kings will have an impact that can last for years.