What the Vince Carter- Tracy McGrady breakup can teach the Boston Celtics? More than you would think. In fact, it could save a dynasty.
Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady were ballers – this piece is not stating otherwise. But other than coincidentally sharing the same family tree, what else do the two have in common.? Well, their two players who were once the most marketable athletes in the league.
Two of the most electrifying wings of their decade. And two players that will both own a Hall Of Fame ring once Carter becomes eligible. That’s a hell of a legacy to leave behind. If you were lucky enough to be watching the NBA in around 2002, wouldn’t you have thought that their legacies would have been a little greater? Tracy never getting past the first round, Carter only playing in one conference finals as a 33-year-old role player. Is that it?
The short story goes like this: McGrady joins a stinking Toronto Raptors franchise in 1997. Vince Carter joins a zed franchise a year later and soon creates ‘Vinsanity.’ McGrady leaves for the Orlando Magic to become T-Mac. There might be a few trivial components like contract temptations and the health of Grant Hills’ ankles, but there’s a reason Orlando offered McGrady a $67.5 million contract after averaging just 15.4 points a game. Orlando knew what every fan knew, that McGrady couldn’t thrive in the shadow of Vince.
Now let’s bring it back to this time. The Boston Celtics have two excellent wings in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Brown was picked first and, like McGrady, had a slow rookie year. Brown even admitted to having modeled his game after McGrady. And these comparisons only grew with the Hall the Famer’s assistance.
Then there’s Jayson Tatum, a small forward who has been prophesied as the next great superstar. Publicized as the Celtics’ most prized possession, Tatum was the one to take home Vince Carter’s jersey on his retirement tour.
Boston currently has two winning lottery tickets that can only be cashed out in the next few years when the tandem enters their prime together. If capitalized upon correctly, Boston should have at least one more championship banner hanging in the rafters when it’s all said and done.
That’s what’s behind door number one. Two ridiculously talented players who value team success above all and who retired with impenetrable legacies. Sounds pretty good huh?
Door number 2: The Celtics get labeled as Tatum and friends. Tatum begins answering questions about how he can take his team to the next level. Brad Stevens decides to only run plays for Tatum in game-defining moments, and no one else. The supporting cast of not only Brown but Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward all go along with the ride until they find themselves three years older with three more early exits. Brown heads to a very young team with sufficient role players to prove he can also be the go-to-guy’
Both players have solid careers with excellent numbers, maybe even enough to go to the Hall of Fame one day. No rings yet. Not even much playoff success. They retire, buy a few houses and become permanent guest stars on Trey Watch (OK, maybe that’s just my fantasy).
In all seriousness, this is not as far fetched as it sounds. There have been better teams whose future was jeopardized once the star player’s value was guaranteed. If Danny Ainge is reading this, know this… treat Jaylen Brown the way he deserves to be treated. As a fundamentally valuable piece in what could be a potential dynasty.
But if Brown feels like his talents are being underutilized and that he is in the shadow of Tatum, someone else could use their story in 20 years to explain how to break up a dynasty before it even begins