The Case For and Against Vince Carter Retiring as a Raptor
Why Carter Should or Shouldn't Retire as a Raptor
Eight minutes. One rebound. That about summed up what 40-year-old Vince Carter produced for the Sacramento Kings in their loss to the Raptors on Sunday. In what looks like his last season, Carter is averaging 2.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in 13.1 minutes of action shooting just 32.1 per cent from the field.
Despite these unflattering stats, Carter's veteran leadership has been credited by several teammates as invaluable and despite the team still floundering, he's a sentimental teammate. And this echoes exactly why so many fans and pundits want to see Carter make one last stop in Toronto before hanging up the sneakers for good. The only question is: when will this be a good time?
There were reports that Raptors President Masai Ujiri made a play for Vince during the offseason but the Kings made a bigger offer. Carter single-handedly made Toronto a viable NBA market and is credited as popularizing basketball in the Great White North. Carter averaged 23.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists as a Raptor and was one game-winning shot away from taking them to their first Conference Finals.
Carter is considered as the most important Raptor of all time. DeMar DeRozan may eventually eclipse his records and achievements but if it weren't for Vince, the Raptors may not even be in Toronto anymore. Out of purely sentimental reasoning, Carter deserves a spot on the team because Toronto owes it to him.
His mentorship will be inspiring for the younger Raptors and he'll boost revenue in terms of the jerseys and TV ratings he'll move.
Carter tearing up during the video tribute amidst cheers was perhaps all the closure both sides needed. It was over a decade where Toronto remained resentful at the man they once dubbed "Air Canada" but it's clear that chapter is over.
Not considering any emotional reasons, there is no place for Carter on the team outside of the coaching staff. The Raptors are already deep at the shooting guard and small forward spots with fresher legs in Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, and C.J. Miles anchoring the rotation. Adding Vince to the lineup means taking out one of them from the rotation.
But as far as weighing these pros and cons, Carter brings so much more beyond on-court performance that bringing him back even for a handful games would make a long-lasting impact that would give both sides the rightful closure.
Raptors Should Finish Strong Before New Year
The Raptors ran out of gas in Los Angeles as they saw their six-game winning streak snapped by the Clippers. Toronto opened as -6.0 favourites on the spread and looked to be en route to another victory but got outscored 26-17 in the fourth and lost 96-91. This was Toronto's first loss of the month and only their second in 12 games. Jonas Valanciunas led the team with 23 points and 15 rebounds in the losing effort.
- 3-2 - Toronto's road record over their last 5 games (average point differential: +10).
- 119.5 - Jonas Valanciunas's offensive rating in his last five games, best in the team
- 2-3 - Toronto's against the spread (ATS) record in its last five games.
- 3/2 - over/under results in Toronto's last five games.
The Raptors were briefly second place in the Eastern Conference with a 17-8 record but are now behind Cleveland with a 20-8 record. Thanks to a Celtics' loss, Toronto is now just four games from first. They are still second in the Atlantic Division and are growing their lead from third-place Philadelphia now with a four-game cushion.
Toronto gets plenty of opportunities to overtake Cleveland when six of their eight games in December are against teams with a losing record. Philadelphia, who they face back-to-back next week, are the only winning team and they're only one game above .500.
When Are The Raptors Playing?
Toronto returns to action tomorrow evening back in the Air Canada Centre against the Brooklyn Nets at 7:30 PM ET. The Raptors will likely be heavy favourites as they have won eight straight against the woeful Nets who are without Jeremy Lin and D'Angelo Russell for the foreseeable future.
The Raptors are still without backup point guard Delon Wright who has a shoulder injury but is looking to return within the next few games. Backup center Lucas Noguiera is also injured with a calf injury. In their absences, expect to see more of Fred VanVleet and a smaller lineup.
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