The jury's still out

Steve Buffery -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

Raptors general manager Rob Babcock said it is unfair to judge the trade he made Dec. 17 with the New Jersey Nets. Babcock traded Vince Carter for Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, Alonzo Mourning, who has been bought out by the club, and two first-round draft choices.

As Carter is playing excellent basketball in the past few weeks, averaging about 25 points per game, the general theme has been that the Raptors were taken to the cleaners by the Nets. Babcock insists that is not so.

"The outcome of that trade is not going to be felt for years to come," Babcock said. "The day I made the trade, I said Vince could very well go to New Jersey and average 25 points a game, but he wasn't going to average 25 points a game for us."

Babcock said that Carter's improved play in Jersey, as compared to his play in Toronto earlier in the season, is more to do with the fact that he is much more relaxed now than he was in Toronto, and not the result of him playing harder.

"He's playing well there, but he doesn't have the distractions, he doesn't have the fans booing him, he doesn't have his teammates wondering if he wants to be there or not," Babcock said. "He can relax and play basketball."

Babcock insisted that the Raptors are playing better without Carter, and the statistics prove him right. With Carter, the Raptors were 8-16 this season. Without him, they have gone 12-14.

AROUND THE RIM

On Wednesday, the Raptors reached the 500 game level in terms of consecutive games with a three-pointer, the longest streak in the NBA. The last time Toronto did not record a triple was Feb. 24, 1999 at Indiana. The Raps rank fourth in the NBA in making threes with a 37% efficiency ... Over the past 10 games, Toronto opponents have outscored the Raptors by an average of 6.8 points and have shot 56%. Reversely, over the past 13 games, Toronto has only lost two final quarters and has outscored its opponents by an average of 6.3 points ... Raptors reserves are averaging 38 points per game. Last year, Toronto ranked last in the NBA in bench scoring at 18.65


Videos

Photos