Was Vince Carter at his best when with the Toronto Raptors?

Toronto Raptors Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport
Toronto Raptors Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Vince Carter has had a sensational career spanning four decades, but was he at his best when he was with the Toronto Raptors?

When you have been playing for as long as Vince Carter has, you’re bound to go through different iterations of the player that you are. Carter was an athletic scoring guard with the Toronto Raptors and the New Jersey Nets before becoming a three-point marksman with the Dallas Mavericks and a helpful veteran in the later years of his career.

Now, in his final season in the NBA, Carter was a needed presence on the court and in the locker room for the Atlanta Hawks, led by Trae Young. It’s been quite a career for Carter, who is third all-time for games played in the NBA with 1541 and nineteenth in the all-time scoring list, just behind Kevin Garnett.

Carter spent seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors from 1998-2004 and was a five-time All-Star, 1999 Rookie of the Year, 2000 All-NBA Third Team, and a 2001 All-NBA Second Team selection with the team. He left in 2004 to join the New Jersey Nets after becoming disillusioned with the Raptors lack of trajectory under Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment and then Raptors president, Richard Peddie.

After his spell with the Toronto Raptors, Carter had a fruitful period with the New Jersey Nets, forming a dynamic partnership with Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson until Kidd was traded to the Dallas Mavericks during the 2007-08 NBA season.

Just yesterday, we wrote an article about five drafted players who had great careers elsewhere, and Vince Carter’s name popped up on that list. Yes, like I said then, and will say now, Carter technically wasn’t drafted by the Raptors but he ended up wearing their hat on draft night – so that’s enough for us.

It said that while those five players had good-to-great careers with the Raptors, maybe their success was more prominent elsewhere. For the likes of Chris Bosh and Tracy McGrady, that rang true. Bosh was a two-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat and Tracy McGrady developed his game to become one of the purest scoring forwards of all-time, winning two consecutive scoring titles with the Orlando Magic.

They, without a doubt, experienced more success once they left the Toronto Raptors – both collectively with their teams and as individuals. But can the same be said about Vince Carter?