A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Archive for November 2011

Deconstructing a myth: Vince Carter having “Michael Jordan potential”

with 2 comments

Vince Carter playing with the Orlando Magic

Image via Wikipedia

If you’re like me, you like to rag on both Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady for the drive they didn’t have. Both had a tremendous mix of athleticism, size and skill and a frustrating ambivalence about their legacy, winning and team’s success.

Putting Tracy McGrady aside who perhaps really did have historic talent and touched on that legendary potential for a season (2002-2003), what I have never understood is the narrative that Vince Carter could have been Michael Jordan and just didn’t care enough to . This is false for a number of reasons.

The first thing that should be noted is that as athletic as Vince Carter was, Michael Jordan he was not. Young Carter had Jordan’s vertical talent, but Jordan’s first step and explosiveness was at another level than his, or anyone else’s size in NBA history. Explosiveness on the ground is more important than explosiveness vertically – If you can break through into the paint, this forces the defense inward and opens a myriad of possibilities for your team offensively. Vertical explosiveness simply helps you finish at the rim more, which is valuable but not as much as penetrations. Furthermore, most high end athletes who are less vertically talented than Carter, are strong enough finishers in their own right. Thus the marginal benefit of Carter’s all time vertical ability from that point is comparatively small. But the marginal benefit between a high end penetrator and one of the best penetrators of all time is much higher. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

November 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm