Vince Carter was once one of the most beloved players in the NBA, especially in Canada. His high flying dunks and lengthy career would make most people think that he warrants a Hall of Fame bid. People called him "Vinsanity," "Air Canada," and even "Half Man, Half Amazing." This writer however is not buying it and people should not either. Being from Canada I grew up watching the meteoric rise of Vince Carter, but also saw the negatives that he brought to the Toronto Raptors franchise. While many of his greatest moments were in that purple uniform, he also had many poor moments as well. This piece will show why many feel he is deserving of a spot in Springfield, but also why he does not. In the end you can decide for yourself does Vince Carter deserve a spot in the basketball hall of fame.
Why Vince Should Get In
Vince Carter has a great case to be a Hall of Famer, and the biggest reason why is his contribution to the game in Canada. Vince Carter came to a Toronto Raptors team that was just 67-179 over their first three seasons of existence. So when Carter was drafted by Golden State and immediately traded to Toronto on draft night, the city had high hopes for the North Carolina standout. Carter made an impact right away, making the playoffs in three of his first four seasons. He became one of the league's biggest superstars and the true face of basketball in Canada. You cannot think about the Toronto Raptors without thinking about Vince Carter and that cannot be overstated, despite other great players playing there.
Then you have to look at his numbers in his prime. For a ten year stretch, Vince Carter averaged over twenty points per game, including 27.6 PPG in the 2000-2001 season. His career averages are 17 points, over four rebounds, and three assists, despite not averaging over ten points the last five years of his career. Vince is also an incredibly underrated three-point shooter, as he averages over 37% from behind the arc in his career. You can then look at where he ranks in Raptors history in multiple statistical categories. He is first in career scoring average, third in field goals, fourth in scoring, fifth in steals and sixth in assists. He is ranked that highly in all those categories despite being just tenth in games played for the franchise.
Lastly just look at Vince Carter's long list of accomplishments. Vince was an eight-time all-star (2000-2008) and was All-NBA second team once and third-team once. He was an NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1999 & won Rookie of the Year as well. And then you have to think about the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. It was the single greatest performance in a dunk contest ever in this writer's opinion and will never be forgotten.
When you factor in Vince Carter's impact on the game, his numbers, and his accolades, it certainly on the surface looks like a hall of fame career.
Why Vince Should Not Get In
Now it is time to play devil's advocate and look at the negatives of Vince Carter's career. Lets first start with Vince's lack of playoff success. Yes, there are plenty of NBA greats in the hall of fame without a ring and if Vince were to get in he would be one of them. Not only does Vince not have a title, but he also does not have an NBA finals appearance either. He made the Eastern Conference Finals once in 2009-2010 with the Orlando Magic. Vince at that time was the third scoring option and the Magic fell to the Boston Celtics in six games. Vince only made it out the first round five times in eleven playoff appearances, and often underperformed in his prime. The most noteworthy playoff game for Carter was "the Graduation game." Vince flew to his college graduation the same day of game seven of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, a game where Carter would miss the game-winning shot. Vince was always a great regular season player, but his playoff success lacks big time.
Then you have to look at the fact that Vince was never a great defender. Vince did not make All-Defensive first or second-team once in his career. Once again there is plenty of hall of fame players that were not great defenders, but it is definitely something that should be pointed out. And then look at the second half of Carter's career. Did Vince Carter have a phenomenal first half of his career? For sure. But the second half was Vince being nothing more than a loveable bench scorer. He played for six teams in the 2010s and never averaged more than 16 points per game. And from 2010-11 onward, he never shot better than 43% from the field, not exactly hall of fame numbers. So if people point to Vince's longevity as a hall of fame case, save it because he was nothing special the second half of his career.
Lastly you have to look at other players that have not gotten in and ask yourself "does Vince deserve a spot more than these guys. First, we have Chauncey Billups, a phenomenal point guard of the 2000s. Chauncey may have just five all-star appearances to Vince's eight, but he is also an NBA champion and was a Finals MVP in 2004. He was also a three-time All-NBA selection and two-time All-Defensive selection. If Chauncey is not in, does Vince warrant a spot? Then you have Billups teammate in Detroit Ben Wallace, one of the best defensive centers of all-time. Once again, Ben has just four all-star appearances to Vince's eight, but he also has a championship. Oh and he was a four-time Defensive Player of the Year, a five-time All-Defensive First Team, a three-time All-Defensive Second Team, and a two-time All-NBA Third Team selection. Once again does Vince deserve a spot over Ben? Finally you have Chris Webber, who from 1999-2004 averaged 24,8/10.6/4.7/1.5/1.5. Webber was also a five-time all-star and five-time All-NBA team selection. With career averages of 20.7/9/8/4.2, does Vince deserve a spot over Webber? It really makes you think.
Vince Carter was one of my favorite players growing up in Canada. His high-flying dunks had me in awe of what he was doing and was truly a great player to watch. Vince had a ten-year stretch where he was one of the elite shooting guards in the league. Carter also had his injury struggles, had a messy divorce with Raptors management, and never got an elusive ring. The second half of his career saw Vince fade into mediocrity, despite playing almost 1500 NBA games. So the question remains: Does Vince Carter Deserve To Make The Hall Of Fame? Only time will tell. I do not believe he is first ballot but will get in.
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