November 23, 2004
End of Vinsanity?Carter says dunking days are over
By MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun
Vince Carter, the NBA's one-time poster boy for in-your-face jams, claims those high-flying days could be over.
"I don't want to dunk anymore," Air Canada boldly said yesterday, raising more than a few eyebrows at the Raptors' practice facility.
Aside from disappointing those at the NBA offices who are in charge of putting together those splashy highlight films Carter has starred in over the years, what is the motivation for this change in philosophy?
"Look, Chris (Bosh) dunks. Lamond (Murray) is dunking now, too. We've got a lot of guys dunking now. But dunking is overrated.
"You can (as easily) make a layup and get fouled and (still) go to a free-throw line. I'm trying to be a more all-around player, looking for rebounds and assists."
Besides, it's difficult to jam a basketball through the hoop when you are fermenting on the end of the bench.
That is where Carter has been spending more than his share of time lately, including the entire fourth quarter of the Raptors' startling 96-91 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
By erasing a 19-point deficit, the Raptors posted the largest fourth-quarter comeback in team history. What made the feat even more amazing was that it was accomplished with starters Carter and Jalen Rose sitting on the sidelines.
On second thought, perhaps it should not be so surprising.
Carter is averaging 14.5 points per game, far below his career average. Rose also is at 14.5 points per game, his lowest total since the 1998-99 season while with the Indiana Pacers.
Yesterday, point guard Rafer Alston shouldered much of the blame for the sagging offensive outputs of Rose and Carter, suggesting he must find more ways to distribute the ball to them.
"I've been doing a poor job with both (Vince) and Jalen," said Alston, a former Milwaukee Buck and Miami Heat.
"It has taken me longer with these two just to find their comfort zones and get us closer together on the court. I never had that with two guys who love to score. I was able to find (Lamar) Odom and (Dwyane) Wade all the time (in Miami), I was able to find Ray Allen and (Glenn) Robinson all the time (in Milwaukee), but I just can't seem to find these guys like I should.
"I don't know if we should be calling more sets for them. Maybe I should be keeping my shot total down from 16 a night to seven to 10 shots a night. "
Carter said Alston was being too hard on himself.
"It's kind of a good feeling to hear someone else is concerned with the way I am playing," Carter said. "But I am as well, and I'm not going to let him take (the blame).
"I'm fine. Once I hit a shot, you won't be asking (these) questions. I'm not worried about it."
Rose, who spent much of yesterday's workout riding the stationary bike, said he feels much better and hopes to play tonight in Washington against the Wizards. Rose suffered a thigh injury early in the game against San Antonio.