Vince Carter Revisited: Training Camp 2009
The season ended last night in a very painful manner. I have nothing witty or off the wall to write about currently but I promise that I will be keeping them coming in the future. This offseason should be very interesting for the Magic and you can count on Otis Smith making some more big splashes. Let the petition officially begin to bring back Adonal Foyle to be our 3rd center.
In regards to Vince Carter, I really hate to say I told you so. Especially in this case. However, I told you so. The following link is to an article that I guest wrote for the Orlando Magic Examiner back in October 2009 at the beginning of training camp. I don’t think anything needs to be said now about Vince that I didn’t say then. Sadly, I don’t think he ever bought in. (Apologies to TeamJJ for the jabs that were taken at him. It was cheap and I regret it!)
Here is the text of the portion that I wrote:
Chemistry? Chemistry? We talkin’ bout CHEMISTRY?!?!
Not to paraphrase Allen Iverson too much, but the big “C” word is now being brought up on the national level in regards to the Orlando Magic. After the Magic’s second day of training camp, head coach Stan Van Gundy is already calling out his new star player. During a Wednesday morning scrimmage, Vinsanity was burned on a backdoor cut the ever-speedy J.J. Redick, causing SVG to rip Carter for his lack of defensive effort. When asked afterwards about the altercation, both player and coach quickly brushed it aside as nothing more than a training camp mistake, spouting comments of how they’re still learning and improving. In the media’s eyes, they were playing the PR game perfectly. The real issue, however, remains deeper than the surface level defensive miscue by Carter. The real issue is how newcomers Carter, Matt Barnes, Brandon Bass, Jason Williams, and Ryan Anderson learn how to adjust to Stan Van Gundy’s unique “in your face” and “master of panic” style of coaching.
Will this bitter rivalry be the break-up for an entire Magic Season?
(Photos courtesy of Sports Illustrated/John Biever & UPI)
Chemistry issues arguably arise more in basketball than any other sport. In baseball, 9 individual talents must be showcased in order for a team to succeed. In football, 11 differing players in differing positions must work together cohesively as one…and this comes from a roster of roughly 3,528! In basketball, rosters are set at a maximum of 15. Those 15 players are constantly surrounded by each other day in and day out. Personality’s conflict…ego’s clash…players continuously reminding perennial all-stars about being burned by scrubs in practice. We, as Magic fans, have all praised and gushed over the talent level on the team, but is the Kool-Aid so strong that we’ve forgotten the de-facto “all-star teams” of the past that ended up flaming out in the playoffs? (See: 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers’s experiment with Kobe, Shaq, Malone, and Payton).
The great gamble Otis Smith took this offseason was reassembling and retooling this Magic team; with the hopes that Carter, Barnes, and Bass would better mesh with the likes of Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard than the previous regime. You’ve seen the examples of where it has failed, (‘03-‘04 Lakers), and you’ve seen the examples where it has worked, (‘07-‘08 Boston Celtics). What was the reason for one’s success and the other’s failure? Chemistry. Are we confident that this year’s version of the Magic is more ‘07-‘08 Boston than ‘03-‘04 Los Angeles? What will make the Orlando experiment succeed where others have failed?
The answer lies in the words and actions of one player: Vince Carter. If he steps up as the veteran leader he was brought in to be, the Magic will go far. If he falls back on his old selfish habits as the grind of the season begins to take its toll and SVG’s halftime shrieks begin to wear thin, then the Magic become just another example of a chemistry experiment gone terribly wrong. Nobody is ready to forfeit the season and call it a failure at this point. But, if things begin to sour at any point this season, then the pundits will point back to where it all started: the 2nd day of training camp when All-Star Vince Carter was burned by 3rd stringer J.J. Redick.
We know who SVG is…we know who D12 is…we DON’T know who Vince Carter now is. You can only coach defense to a certain point, the rest depends solely on heart and effort. What’s it going to be Vince? Have you truly bought in?
Although training camp just began, and we have yet to see Orlando in action, the City Beautiful does deserve to know just who Vince Carter is going to be. The season depends on it.
Here’s to a 2010-2011 championship season at the Amway Center that is full of heart and hustle. EnterLegend. Go Magic!