When first arriving in the league, comparisons between Vince Carter and Michael Jordan were inevitable. They are the same sort of height, same sort of build, play the same position, had similar skills, and even went to the same college. Vince quickly demonstrated an extremely skilled all-around game, and even more quickly developed a reputation for clutch shots and game winners, to go along with his unrivalled dunking ability.
Then, it went wrong. Surgeries on both knees, accusations of quitting on his team (founded accusations at that), and often being called soft for shooting so many jumpshots, knocked him down in the public's estimation to a second tier player. People seem to great take joy in hating on him, even those who weren't in any way emotionally affected by the whole final-season-as-a-Raptor thing.
What people liked to overlooked, though, is Carter's elite all-around skill set. He's one of the best passers for his position, and can rebound and play defense far better than he is credited for. Carter's offense consisted of the athletic stuff you'd expect from one of the league's better athletes, and also a superb jumpshot from all ranges. He's also been one of the finest clutch players of a generation, and one of the greatest last shot players of all time. But this doesn't get talked about much, because it's all just too positive.
Of course, way beyond 30 now, Carter is declining noticeably. He is still reasonably athletic, but he has lost an enormous amount of athleticism; the fact that he can still 360 dunk at this age is a testament to how much athleticism he once had. Vince now takes more jumpers than ever before, and since it was always said that he took too many, it's perhaps inevitable that he is now largely a jumpshooter. But he remains a good all-around player, smart and versatile, and still much maligned. When you shoot that well, taking jumpshots is a blessing.
- 2nd December, 2008.