If Orlando is going to vault past both Detroit and Boston, it's pretty much a consensus opinion that…
Flying Under the Radar: Anthony Carter
On the season, Carter has managed the team efficiently, posting a 3:1 assist to turnover ratio which ranks 12th in the NBA. His 6.2 assists per game is second on the team, but his ability to distribute the ball has been huge in Denver's success.
At 32 years old, Carter doesn't have the quickest first step anymore and he certainly isn't a poster-child for athleticism. Where the 6'2" Carter thrives however is by using his veteran savvy to see the floor and get the ball into the hands of the right player at the right time. Carter also has a knack for making big shots late in the game, and his intangibles are what ultimately set him apart.
Carter started the year off slow because of a broken hand that kept him out most of last season, but he has slowly improved and the Nuggets are starting to gel because of his presence. In the Nuggets' 31 wins this season, Carter has averaged 7.1 assists, and in Denver's 19 losses, he averaged just over 5.
The one knock on Carter is that he is a bit of a streak shooter. He has had games this season where he's gone one of eight, but other nights when he's gone 9-11 or 9-16. If Carter is having an off-night, teams tend to pack it in against Iverson and Anthony, and let Carter have open looks.
It's no coincidence that when Carter is playing well and under control, which is most of the time, that the Nuggets are at their best. The best way to take Carter out of his game is to pressure him and not let him set up, but can the Magic, who face the Nuggets on Wednesday, find a guard who can rattle Carter? Reserve combo guard Keyon Dooling might the team's best bet, but with Iverson and Anthony on the floor, Dooling and Orlando's other top defenders will likely be concentrating more on the stars than on Carter. If Carter is left alone and can make his open shots, he could easily propel the Nuggets to a victory.
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