Toronto Raptors: Could Vince Carter be a Fit for This Team?
Going into this year, the Toronto Raptors are looking to be one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference.
This team learned a lot from last years wire-to-wire playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets.
But as strong as a fight the Raptors put up, they still lost to a lower seeded team, and all the while a major talking point was “the lack of experience” the Raptors players had in a playoff environment. Between that and the Brooklyn Nets allegedly tanking for the chance to face the raptors, it isn’t hard to make an argument that this young team, frankly, got punked.
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But what if we had that veteran presence that we clearly lacked last year? What if we had that grizzled, battle-hardened player that would go nose-to-nose with a Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett after a hard foul, as if to say, “What are you gonna do about it?”
A guy that may not put up 20 points a game, but someone who could still electrify a bench and crowd with an unsuspected throw down or big time corner three. A guy that knew how to keep his cool while everyone else lost their mind.
Now imagine that guy was someone so looked up to in this city, so respected around the league, that anyone who played with him while he wore the Toronto jersey, would believe.
What if we had this guy last year?
It’s true; the Raptors don’t necessarily need a 37 year-old role player on the wing when they have DeMar DeRozan, Terrance Ross, and Louis Williams. Yes, Vince Carter just signed a three-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies that will probably round out his career come 2017.
Apr 12, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) during the game against the Phoenix Suns at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Suns 101-98. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
But still, what would that look like? Would it have worked? Could it work now?
The numbers say it could.
If we compare stats between Carter and the recently signed Williams from the last two seasons for example, they are almost identical, with Carter being the cheaper option of the two.
Carter has managed to morph himself to whatever team he’s playing for at the time needs from him. His play with the Dallas Mavericks during last season garnered some talk of a possible sixth-man award (he finished sixth in voting), and it was a role he fully embraced with class and the kind of professionalism that is rarely seen from his generation of all-stars.
You can say what you want about how he left the city, there is plenty of blame to go around, but if there is one thing we all have learned from our time watching Carter through the twilight of his career in Dallas, it is that he is not selfish on the court.
He has clearly shown over the last year that he can still ball, from throwing down dunks on the new darling of the city, Demar DeRozan:
To hitting a game winner in Dallas during last season’s playoffs, that seemed all but 13 years too late:
At this point, it’s probably just a pipe dream for a nostalgic 90’s babies like me. But should the Toronto Raptors run into some injury issues, maybe the young guns are feeling the pressure a little. Who knows what GM Masai Ujiri might try to save the season?
What do you think? Would Vince Carter actually find a place on an up-and-coming team like the Raptors? Or would he be unable to fit head coach Dwayne Casey’s system of high-energy defence and fast-paced offence?
Could Vince be a part of something special here, or is it just too little too late for the biggest sports star this city has ever developed?