Vince Carter, a swingman and starting guard for the Orlando Magic, was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. Though he was selected by the Golden State Warriors, he was immediately traded to the Toronto Raptors where he turned himself into a Rookie of the Year winner, slam dunk champion, and All-Star.
Vince Carter played college basketball at the University of North Carolina from 1995 to 1998. In his three NCAA seasons, Carter never stood out as a scorer; he averaged 12.3 points for his collegiate career and 15.6 in his final year, ranking third on his team behind Antawn Jamison and Shammond Williams. It didn’t take long for him to reinvent himself in the NBA.
Though his rookie season was delayed due to the NBA lockout, Carter had a brilliant 1999 season. He immediately bested every one of his collegiate seasons, averaging 18.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.5 blocks for game. Vince Carter won the 1999 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, but had only scratched the surface of his talents.
In just his second season, Vince Carter became one of the faces of the NBA. Carter was fourth in the league in scoring with 25.7 points per game. He made his first All-Star team and during All-Star weekend, Carter won the slam dunk contest, displaying some of the best athleticism the contest had ever seen. Carter led the Toronto Raptors to their first playoff appearance in franchise history and at season’s end made his first All-NBA team.
Carter was giving himself hard acts to follow, but he continued to improve in his third season. By now a full-fledged superstar, Carter dropped 27.6 points per game in 2001, making his second straight All-NBA team and leading the Raptors to their second playoff appearance. Beating the Knicks three games to two, the Raptors won their first ever playoff series, to date the only one in franchise history.
Having peaked early, Carter’s next two seasons had trouble living up to his standards. In the 2002 and 2003 seasons, he missed a combined 61 games due to injury, though he still made both All-Star teams. In 2004, Carter was an All-Star again, though his performance had dipped; he averaged 22.5 points per game, but his shooting percentage had dropped to 41.7. This was his final full season with the Raptors.
In the 2004-2005 season, after falling out of favor and spending the first 20 games playing a reduced role, Carter was traded from the Raptors to the New Jersey Nets where he found new life. In 57 games, Carter was back to his old self averaging 27.5 points on 46.2 percent shooting, making his fifth consecutive All-Star team.
In his five seasons with the Nets, Carter averaged 23.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game, making three All-Star teams (for a career total of eight) and making the playoffs twice (for a career total of five appearances). After the 2008-2009 season, the Nets traded Carter to the Orlando Magic.
Through his first 58 games of the 2009-2010 season, Carter is averaging 16.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists for the Magic. No longer the focal point of the offense, Carter is likely done making All-Star teams, but he is on his first legitimate contender in his career.