Toronto Raptors: What If Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter Had Stayed Together?

Mike B.Correspondent IDecember 31, 2010

23 Apr 2000: Vince Carter #15 of the Toronto Raptors shakes hands with teammate Tracy McGrady #1 during round one of the NBA Playoffs against the New York Knicks at the Madison Square Garden in New York. The Knicks defeated the Raptors 92-88.   Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw  /Allsport
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This past July, Chris Bosh chose to leave the Toronto Raptors for the Miami Heat. Bosh, however, wasn't the first NBA superstar to once call the city of Toronto home.

Years ago, cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady were high-flying Raptor teammates.

McGrady, also known as "T-Mac," was the first of the pair to arrive in Canada as he was selected ninth overall by the Raptors in the 1997 NBA Draft. Carter came along the following year after being traded for Antawn Jamsion. 

McGrady and Carter played two seasons together, leading the team to its first-ever postseason appearance in 2000.

Overshadowed by Carter, one of the most exciting dunkers of all time, McGrady was traded to the Orlando Magic in a sign-and-trade deal in August 2000. He eventually turned into a seven-time All-Star and emerged as one of the most unstoppable scorers in the league, winning two scoring titles. 

Carter was later shipped to the New Jersey Nets in December 2004 for Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams, Aaron Williams and two future first-round draft picks.

The Raptors then decided to rebuild around Bosh, who was the team's lottery pick in the star-studded 2003 draft. Bosh developed into quite a nice player in Toronto and lead the team to a little bit of success, but nothing major.

But what if the McGrady-Carter duo was never broken up? What if McGrady never went home to Florida and Carter didn't quit playing hard as a Raptor and stayed with the team?

They definitely wouldn't have been the next Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but they could've done some big things together.

Just imagine if the two would have checked their egos at the door and found a way to co-exist as mega-stars. There would have been a bunch of highlights featuring McGrady throwing ally-oop passes to Carter and vice versa.

Raptors games would have been far from boring. That's for sure.

In their prime, McGrady and Carter were two of the most athletic and fun to watch swingmen of the 2000s. However, each player hasn't done much at all in the playoffs. McGrady has never played past the first round and Carter reached the Conference Finals just once, which was last year with Orlando.

But playing together in a watered-down Eastern Conference, the duo could have gotten the Raptors to the NBA Finals a couple of times and maybe could have won a championship depending on what role players were acquired.

With both McGrady and Carter often drawing double teams, the Raptors would have needed a bunch of three-point shooters who could stretch the defense. Guys like Jason Kapono, Kyle Korver and Eddie House would have been perfect additions.

A solid big man who could grab rebounds would have been needed as well. With McGrady and Carter still in town, the Raptors probably wouldn't have been bad enough to be able to draft Bosh, but they could have found a big man through free agency or a trade.   

McGrady and Carter would have handled the majority of the scoring load, but who was going to get them the ball? The Raptors would have needed a pass-first point guard like a Rajon Rondo or a young Muggsy Bogues.

Eventually, though, McGrady would have broken down due to injuries and the franchise would have had to rebuild.

Nonetheless, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter, at the top of their games, would have been something to see.