Tracy McGrady unbelievably confident, delusional
Throughout the Tracy McGrady saga in Houston, I never got the vibe that McGrady really grasped what was going on. The very idea that a team would choose not to play him for the sake of chemistry seemed to baffle T-Mac, and to be fair, I imagine that any player of similar standing would have a reaction of the same ilk.
Most of those players, though, haven’t been significantly limited by injuries and averaged 49 games played over their last five seasons. It doesn’t take the eye of an expert to see McGrady standing around on offense, despite D’Antoni’s motion-heavy scheme that’s so reliant on counters and dribble hand-offs.
That may have been fine when McGrady was the primary shot-creator in Jeff Van Gundy’s offense, but much has changed since then. For one, Tracy is largely a ghost of the player he used to be, not only lacking the explosion that made him into a star, but is likely a below average NBA athlete at this point. He’s still an excellent passer on the wing, but as his PPG begins to fade, one can’t help but wonder if his willingness to dish won’t dwindle accordingly.
But the truly interesting thing about the decline in McGrady’s game is that Tracy himself hasn’t noticed it. From Howard Beck of the New York Times:
McGrady, who is entering free agency, wants much more for his career. Whether he will take the next step in New York or elsewhere is unclear, but he is certain of this much: He is not ready to fade into obscurity. “There’s no question I will be an All-Star,” McGrady said. “Not right now, but next year when I come into the season, I will be an All-Star-caliber player, there’s no question.”
He added, for emphasis, “I will be myself next year.”
Still, there’s at least a possibility that McGrady makes the team next year. As a Rocket, T-Mac was consistently among the leading vote-getters for the All-Star starters. It begs the question: did McGrady earn legitimate fans out of China’s legion of voters, or were they just straight ticket voting for Yao’s hombres?