Vince Carter is one of the most puzzling figures in the NBA. In so many ways, the nickname "Half-Man/Half-Amazing" suits him.
After three years at UNC, Carter burst onto the scene with the Toronto Raptors in 1998. VC was named Rookie of the Year for the 1998-99 season. Carter was chosen to help Team USA to gold in the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Vince is an eight time all-star and was twice named to the All-NBA team. He has averaged 23.5 points per game with 4.3 assists and 5.5 rebounds over his career.
In one of his most defining moments, Carter stunned everyone at the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest. With quite possibly the most spectacular performance ever, Carter was simply amazing.
Now for the other side of the story. Vince Carter does not have a reputation for being a winner. In his three years at the elite UNC, Carter never won a national championship.
During his tenure in Toronto, the Raptors made the playoffs only twice. The 2001-02 Raptors won 47 games, the best for Carter in Toronto.
The 2005-06 Nets won 49 games, the most of any of Carter's teams while he was in town. Vince Carter was not the answer in New Jersey, a team that lacked a defensive presence and size. Kidd soon bolted for the Dallas Mavericks and Jefferson landed with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Left to lead a team that was obviously entering a rebuilding project with eyes locked on signing LeBron James in 2010, Carter became disgruntled once again. This was the less amazing side of Vince Carter.
There are factors that play into this dark side of Carter's career. Vince has never played next to a league MVP, consensus Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, nor has he played for a Coach of the Year.
The only players to make the All-Star team while playing with Carter were Jason Kidd and Antonio Davis. With the exception of Kidd, Cater has never played with an All-NBA Team of All-Defensive Team player.
The year following Vince Carter's departure from Toronto, the team won only 27 games. The future doesn't look much better for New Jersey this year.
Maybe Carter has been less than amazing because his supporting cast has been less than average.
Vince Carter is the type of player that plays off emotion and the mood of his previous teams has been a bit somber, if not melancholic. This could be the major difference in his mind frame.
Now in Orlando, Carter has the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and former First Team All-Rookie member in Dwight Howard. Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis were voted onto last year's All-Star team.
Carter will be playing for a Coach of the Year candidate, Stan Van Gundy, and Mickael Pietrus should be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year.
Vince gives the Magic a more conventional look as a prototype two guard. This will allow Jameer Nelson to handle the ball more and become a great point guard. Orlando will be able to plug Brandon Bass into the PF spot and provide a defensive boost.
Carter will be able to slash to the basket with threats on the outside and in the post. VC will benefit from the decreased attention as he will be free from double coverage.
In the preseason, Carter was outstanding. Sure, it's preseason, big deal. Well, for Carter to be playing enthusiastically in an exposition game that "doesn't matter" is a big deal. It shows that he still has that passion for the game that we saw in his early years.
This is not Shawn Kemp playing one last year for Orlando to help pay for his nine kids.
This is not Patrick Ewing hoping to work his way into a coaching position by eking one out on unforgiving knees.
This is not Dominique Wilkins looking to add a couple more clips to his "Highlight Film."
This is a player coming to a contender trying to prove that he, too, is a winner. Now is the time for Vince Cater to bring back amazing.