It’s October and the New Jersey Nets are without Richard Jefferson, and have left Jason Kidd in Dallas.
Who will lead this team?
Not Vince Carter. The guy has no heart, no passion, and no desire to win. Give him a young Nets team, and he will do nothing but sit out with soft injuries—not giving commitment to the youthful squad.
I’m sure many people thought like that. Haters, analysts, and even some fans all had doubt in the man people used to call half man, half amazing.
None of them could have been more wrong.
"Vince has been great," Nets President Rod Thorn said, "not just on the court but with our younger players. He seems to be very happy. He likes the leadership role. I think what's important is he likes these guys and these guys like him. Vince is a focal point around the team."
It can be argued that Devin Harris is the best player on this team with his significant improvement, but there can be no denial to who the leader of the team is.
Carter has been a consistent scorer. His playmaking skills are showing that he has matured from past years. Vince’s defense which has been labeled lazy and bad, has improved to good. His determination, heart, and desire to win have all been rejuvenated.
A team that was projected to be among the worst in the league has been led by Captain Carter with the help of the favorite thus far to win the most improved player award, Devin Harris.
Harris and Carter are one of the best backcourt combinations in the league. They both compliment each other well—maybe more than the Kidd-Carter duo.
The most notable game by Vince this season has to be the one in Toronto a few weeks ago. The Canadian boo birds were going crazy as usual, the arena was hectic. The fourth quarter began and the Nets were down by double digits. With the help of the team, Carter led the Nets to an overtime victory. He hit the three in the end of the fourth quarter to force overtime, and then ended the game with a game winning reverse dunk.
"He [Carter] is one of the best athletes in the game," said Raptors’ forward Chris Bosh, “Lawrence Frank drew up a fantastic play and left it up to his best player and he capitalized."
The Nets are sixth in the Eastern Conference and are playing like a playoff team. Whether they can keep this stellar play up, remains to be the question.
With Carter leading the team and proving critics wrong, we might see some success from this team that can show haters that Vince Carter is more than just a highlight reel.