Vince does care who wins or loses. And he has shown signs, on and off, since becoming a Net in December of 2004. This guy does care, he feels it, he gets it, and he has a head on his shoulders.
Whether he decides to do something with that or not is his call. And, sadly, his consistent clarion call for years has been to take ‘er easy.
Yes, he should be at the point in his career (turning 31 last January) where the output should start to slip. But we watched the games.
The Nets had no chance last year, I told that to anyone that would listen but nobody would listen, and once the team wised up and initiated the rebuilding process, Carter
packed it in. That wasn't age catching up to him. That was a player barely showing up, while still having the talent and touch to muster 21, six rebounds, and five assists.
He didn't just stand on the perimeter and chuck three-pointers, the attempts actually went down last season, he just sort of showed up without showing up. He wasn't lost in the mix as Jason Kidd replacements like Marcus Williams and Devin Harris flailed away, he was willing to be part of the crowd, and rarely put his imprint on the game. He floated. As he's done for years.
Phil Jackson was one of millions to notice. And it's VC's right to shoot PJ down in the Telegraph (I'm a Guardian man myself, though I do appreciate the stylings of James May), but it's also Jackson's right to speak for the lot of us that still expect great things from Vince Carter. We're idiots for expecting as much, I know, but we still remember his rookie year, and 1999-00. God, he was great.
And we remember how scary things looked in 2000-01, when Vince first started to meander, and rely on talent alone to throw in heaps of fadeaway jumpers while failing to take that next step. Raptor fans killed me for it, they killed me for any honest thing that I wrote about Vince until that Nelly concert or (for the diehards) his trade early in 2004-05, but I was right. The guy was on a path toward basketball oblivion.
He's ended up the Michael Ray Richardson of his generation, without the excuse of being strung out. Impressive numbers on talent alone, no impact, while still giving us assorted stretches of dominance (how great was his work as a Net in 2004-05?) while we still knew better.