|There’s Really No Debate That This Dunk Will Be
At Or Close To The Top Of Every Best Dunks Of
All Time List For 50 Years (At Least)
(In Defence Of is a new regular feature on Full Court Pest who’s goal is to defend players who have controversial and/or negatively viewed careers in the NBA. If you’d like to see someone defended, feel free to send the suggestion along, and if I agree, will do my best, enjoy!)
Being a Raptors fan (by default when you’re Canadian) inherently involves having an informed opinion on Vince Carter. I’ve followed Carter’s entire career. I can’t disagree with anything in the well established plethora of his faults, but I’ve also got to say that rap sheet is overly harsh on Carter. It kills to me to have to defend him but I’m compelled when history is unjust.
One thing I know about the NBA: you can’t win without good bigs. You just can’t. At minimum you need someone who can rebound, defend and bring some toughness at the 5. Without it, the other team’s tough role players to superstar big will exploit you a la Dwight Howard vs Big Z in last year’s East finals. You need a Kendrick Perkins, a la Boston/Orlando in this years finals, or you are done. Agreed?
So who’s the best big that Vince played with in his pre-Orlando career? That comes down to a choice between post-prime Antonio Davis who showed up being 31 years of age after he was still a role player topping out at 28 MPG in his prime in Indiana.
|Everyone Wins Titles With The Diesal|
Davis was an utter post season no show in 2000 with 9, 4 and 12 boards. Played well the next year (TO came within a shot of the east finals) and after that it was evident his time being an impact player was over, all before Carter entered his prime. Davis’ season ending injuries sank the Raptors to the point that Toronto’s best front court players were a 37 year old Kevin Willis and a 36 year old Charles Oakley.
The next best choice is Nenad Kristic. Do I need to say more? Except Kristic got hurt, so his best big was… a 39 year old Clifford Robinson! Seriously. Or maybe Josh Boone… and that’s arguable.
So you have to do some comparisons with Carter’s peers.
y = Carter + x (other player’s big)
x (Manu/Parker) = Duncan y = titles
x (Kobe) = Shaq y = titles
x (Wade) = Shaq y = titles
x (Pierce) = KG y = titles
x (Kobe) = Pau/Odom y = titles
And that’s an entire decade of champions minus the Pistons which is a team Carter would have no place being on. In the very, very least, the result of any of those pairings is legitimate contender.
|Charles Oakley And His Girlfriend|
The fact is, no one is going to win or make any noise starting an injured Nenad Kristic, post-prime injured Davis or on average 38 year old front courts. Or Josh Boone. Or Brian Scalanbrine who the Nets actually did start at center while Carter was there.
Carter deserves lots of blame, but no one else in that situation, Jason Kidd or not, is going to win in the post season even if they are. Michael Jordan who actually lost with prime, not 37 year old Charles Oakley. Does Jordan win with Clifford Robinson, Kristic or Josh Boone? No. People attach the losing to Vince because he was famous, however, if you follow those player’s careers as starters you can see that they had their peaks with Vince Carter. Kristic ‘starts’ in OK City, but only plays 22 minutes a game.
People still act as if the losing is all Carter’s fault. He didn’t play optimally, his heart is questionable, he lacks toughness but even if he put in MJ performances, he probably wouldn’t have won much more then he did, or at all. Maybe one year in TO he gets to the east finals. That’s about it. MJ on the Raptors still loses. On the nets he loses to Shaq and the Heat twice. He still loses to Big Z when he was still an effective player with Bron in 07 cuz over 40 Cliff, Josh Boone and Mikki Moore just can’t compete. And no one even considers that when Kidd left the Nets the team won the same # of games, 34, as the year before. When Carter left, they won 12 and Devin Harris did not look nearly as spectacular.
Sure, Vince mailed in some games and he’s hated for it. Lest we forget though that in the NBA situation is everything. Carter’s attitude stank, but not nearly as badly as the dysfunctional teams he spent his prime on. Now he’s frankly too old to make up for either vs an absolute defensive juggernaut.
|Vince Doesn’t Deserve This|
Lets be fair. Look up Coleman, Derrick or Mercer, Ron for players who are much worse examples of no effort postage. He’s unquestionably the greatest NBA dunker of all time which is an accomplishment and put up pretty great numbers for his whole career. People are trying to fill him full of ‘blame pie’ like Kevin Spacey filled the fat guy full of spaghetti in Se7en. Hey, maybe that’s justified. All I’m saying is relax Kevin, now that he’s full of your hate-fruit filling, is it really necessary to kick him in the stomach?