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Debunking Certain Myths About Vince Carter And Stan Van Gundy

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Before I get into the premise of my post, I wanted to state that I was inspired by Kevin Broom's (of The Secret Weapon, a fantastic Washington Wizards-centric blog) excellent critique of a Fox Sports article that was written last week. Broom took the time to debunk a number of criticisms pointed towards Gilbert Arenas by the author of the article in question, Randy Hill. If you have a chance, check it out.

 

After reading what Hill wrote about Vince Carter and Stan Van Gundy, I felt compelled to respond in some manner because of the inaccuracies in the write-up. I'll try to be as concise as possible, but pardon me if I delve into the subject a bit.

 

Here's what Hill stated about Carter and Van Gundy:

With the versatile and underrated Hedo Turkoglu off to Toronto in free agency, Carter was acquired in a deal that could turn out to be a masterstroke or disaster in the petri dish.

 

Will Carter's ability to create scoring opportunities (usually for himself) provide late-game options when Dwight Howard is blanketed by defenders and his own free-throw genius? Or will this suspected coach-killer be the final nail in the Orlando run of Stan Van Gundy?

Click after the jump to see my response. 

 

With the versatile and underrated Hedo Turkoglu off to Toronto in free agency, Carter was acquired in a deal that could turn out to be a masterstroke or disaster in the petri dish.

Let's begin with the first paragraph. It's hard to imagine how the acquisition of Vince Carter could turn out to be a disaster for the Orlando Magic, when you take a look at all the variables in question. It's already been stated that Vince is an upgrade over Hedo Turkoglu, offensively. Defensively, that's another story but rest assured, the issue surrounding the Carter's defensive capabilities isn't something that is too glaring. If it was, the topic would have been addressed at Third Quarter Collapse. 

 

Apart from the infusion of talent, general manager Otis Smith executed the trade to acquire Carter because of the flexibility he provides, with regards to his contract. Hedo Turkoglu secured a five-year deal with the Toronto Raptors. It's evident that Smith didn't want to commit to that type of contract for a player, as unique of a talent he is, who arguably only had one "great" season in his tenure with the Magic - the year in which Turkoglu won the Most Improved Player Award. Rather than tie up resources to the Turkoglu, Smith opted to acquire a better player with a shorter contract (two years, with a team option for a third). Although Carter is indeed making more money than Turkoglu, the length of his contract is what stands out. 

 

Orlando will eventually need to retool its roster and the fact that Carter's deal expires in two years (assuming the team doesn't pick up the third year) is crucial, because it allows the Magic to find a replacement while Dwight Howard is around. The alternative (Turkoglu is re-signed) makes things more difficult for Smith to retool on the fly, because of the cost in correlation to a player's declining production. In essence, Carter's contract is manageable. Turkoglu's contract is not manageable. 

 

By acquiring Carter, Orlando gains a better player, more flexibility, etc. The only downside that can be drummed up is the possibility that the Magic don't win a title with Carter in the next two years, but that's a risk the franchise has to take. Even then, if Orlando doesn't win a championship with Carter, it shouldn't be considered a disaster. At least the organization is committed to doing whatever it takes to win and not acting like the Memphis Grizzlies (harsh, I know).

 

Will Carter's ability to create scoring opportunities (usually for himself) provide late-game options when Dwight Howard is blanketed by defenders and his own free-throw genius? 

Normally, I don't criticize another person's writing because who am I to say that it's good or bad? However, this is an exception, because the quoted excerpt above is awful "analysis". It's already been elaborated upon, and proven, that Carter has the ability to create scoring opportunities for others like Turkoglu. People marveled at Turkoglu's ability to create off the dribble, yet don't bother to note that Carter had the same assist percentage AND a lower turnover percentage this past season. 

 

It's insinuated that Carter is selfish on the court, when he's shown that he's not.

 

Need a example to further disprove that notion? Watch as Carter happily defers to his New Jersey Nets teammate, Devin Harris, for a game-winning shot last year. 

 

 

Enough said.

 

Or will this suspected coach-killer be the final nail in the Orlando run of Stan Van Gundy?

The final question in the examination of Carter, and Van Gundy, is horrendous.

 

Unfortunately for Carter, he is chasing ghosts from his Toronto Raptors past, in which he was fed up with the franchise and wanted to -insert emphasis here- win

 

Here's what Dave D'Alessandro of The Star-Ledger, in a discussion with 3QC, had to say a month ago:

Last thing first: Whether you think he "quit" on the Raptors is irrelevant, because a new team and challenge is likely to invigorate even the most melancholic of players--and Vince doesn't hide the fact that he was fed up in Toronto. Can happen to anybody, when the coach benches you in fourth quarters, as Sam Mitchell did throughout Nov/Dec of 2004. And he's long since rebuilt his image as a professional of the highest order. [...]

 

Kind of hard to summarize the 10 (mostly illustrious) seasons of Carter's career, other than to note that he has -- with very few slips -- brought honor and class and unmatched pyrotechnics to the league that values all three. OK, maybe you don't know this: Of all the superstars you might encounter in this ego-driven business, you might not meet another guy who is more accessible, approachable, affable, and agreeable. Some say that part of his personality lacks the competitiveness or edge he needs to be one of the greats. To which I say: I don't care. To be great in this league, you have to have two things: Consistency, and the ability to do it late. I'd put Vince in the "pretty damn good" category, and a likely Hall of Famer for helping save the league in the post-Jordan age. But I also admire him for not chasing an image, or trying to live up to the expectations, or seeing himself only through the eyes of others. He's very comfortable in his own skin, and for someone of his accomplishments, that's the best measure of the man.

I can vouch, in the limited time I've been able to interact and speak with Carter since his arrival to Orlando, that he's everything that D'Alessandro described. 

 

Everything.

 

Does that sound like a coach-killer to you? The answer is no.

 

And since when was there a final nail in the coffin of Stan Van Gundy? It's a lazy and terrible assertion backed up with no claim or evidence. Apparently, a head coach that constructed a unit which led the NBA in defensive efficiency, guided a team to a second consecutive Southeast Division Title, an Eastern Conference Title, and a trip to the NBA Finals, oversaw the development of a point guard that evolved from a role player to an All-Star, all in the past season, is on the "hot seat".

 

It's hard for there to be a final nail in the coffin when a coffin (and the nail & the hammer) doesn't exist, in the first place, for an elite coach in the Association. 

 

All in all, this is an example of a "veteran columnist" at a national media outlet that has no clue what he's talking about, with regards to the Orlando Magic. Surprised?