Cartier had a very streaky year with his latest bout with the Washington Wizards. Some games, he was “CARTI3R!”, and some games he was “CARTI–ughh”. One thing was consistent from him, however, and that was his energy. No matter how he played from a boxscore’s standpoint, Cartier always put his all–out on the floor for the team and helped pick up the tempo on the floor. Unfortunately for him, though, Wittman kept Cartier in the dog house for a good part of the season which didn’t really give him too much of a chance to be consistent.
Scoring: When Cartier was hot, he was red-hot. His ability to sink three-pointers in succession was impressive. But for a good part of this season, he had trouble getting anything to go in. He ended up averaging 6.6 points per game in an average 16.9 minutes per game. The stats basically speaks for themselves, he was good for a few big buckets per game, but not too much else this season. I give him a D+ in this category.
Court Awareness: I think this was one of his weaknesses and ultimately forever will be. He’s got the same style of play as a Nick Young or Jordan Crawford type of player. His first instinct is to shoot, which was the main reason that he was frustrating to a lot of Wizards fans. He racked up a career-high 32 turnovers with the squad this season, but seeing as how this was his most active season in the NBA, it’s hard to read too much into this stat. However, due to the reasons above, I sill must give him a D for this category, as well.
Offensive Value: As I’ve mentioned, his 3-point shooting is impressive, even more so his ability to sink them one after another. He made 58 threes this season, going 39.7% from beyond the arc — both of those being career highs. He ended up going 38.1% in field goals altogether. He also scored career highs in his point total for the season, with 270. The main thing with him, however, is that it took him a lot more shots for him to be able to hit this mark (with 252 on the season). In 2010-2011, he played in 52 games for the Wizards and made 209 points on 182 shots), so he’s got to find some consistency in his game. I give him a C for his offensive efforts this season.
Defensive Value: Cartier’s pretty versatile defensively, playing the role of either an undersized PF or an over-sized SF. He ended up grabbing 100 rebounds, six blocks and 19 steals this season (all for career highs). I credit his defensive efforts to his hustle on the court, which will lead me to the next section. For this category, I give Cartier a C+.
Hustle/Effort: As I mentioned in the opening notes about Cartier, something happens on the court when he checks in. He is always ready to go on the court and never seems like he’s tired or worn out. He leaves everything he’s got on that floor by the time the game is over, and it shows in the defensive stats I listed above. He’s constantly moving on the court whether he’s trying to find the open shot or smothering a defender. He managed to keep up with some of the best in the NBA this season as he had the task of covering one Lebron James for a short period in one of the Wizards’ victories over the defending NBA champions. I think his hustle is really the only reason Wittman left him in the game when it was obvious he was struggling with his shot. He has a good impact on the players around him when he’s on the court with his tempo. I give him an A- in this category.
Basketball Swag: Any guy who goes with the pulled back two-dread hairstyle a-la a slicked back Coolio is good in my book. It’s safe to say there’s no one in the NBA who looks like him. Cartier is not hard to miss in the locker room with his positive energy and huge smile. He truly thinks in his mind that he’s one of the best players, I believe–and that’s a good thing to have on a young team like this. He’s got the confidence to take the big shots, to guard the best, and to rock twenty different hairstyles per season. I give him an A+ in the swag category.
Final Player Grade: Cartier had the best season of his career, but it took him a lot longer with more shots and minutes to surpass some of his previous highs. I’ve been a huge Cartier fan, but this season did not solidify my willingness to bring him back next season. After the final game of the season, I talked to him about whether he wants to come back. He obviously said yes, but seems to understand that it may not be an option. He was quick to mention after saying that he wants to be back, but understands that it’s a business. My final grade for Cartier this season rounds out at a C-.