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McGrady Duos

A player who I once considered better than Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and Vince Carter at one point in time, Tracy McGrady. He was one of the best scorers this league ever saw during his stint in Orlando. He almost singlehandedly defeated the Pistons as an 8 seed (they were up 3-1) but, that was the same year they changed it top a best of 7 and they lost the next 3. He is easily one of the most exciting in-game dunkers of all time, being the first player to dunk it after throwing it off the backboard in a game (All Star game). He has always been an extremely underrated passer.

Kobe vs. T-Mac

In his time with Houston and Orlando he only twice dipped under 5 APG (4.5, 4.8). He was also a very effective rebounder never dropping under 5 in his time in the two cities and in Orlando was always over 6. The one fatal flaw that Tracy will always carry is that he was never able to win a playoff series. I know better than most because I am a huge Houston Rockets fan. Although, Steve Francis was one of my favorite players ever, I knew Tracy was an upgrade at the time. With McGrady and Yao I felt it was a lock but, it somehow never happened. I believe he is wrongly criticized and judged for this because for most of his playoff attempts he was missing his co-star.

the Two Cousins in Toronto

When Tracy really came onto the scene with his cousin in Toronto, the Raptors still had some work to do to become a legitimate playoff contender. Carter and McGrady could have been the best dunking combo to ever be together on an NBA team (in his final year in Canada, Vince finished 1st while he finished 3rd in the dunk contest. That was 2000, the last elite dunk contest in the NBA (2000 NBA Dunk Contest) T-Mac really began to gain buzz around the league but, did not seem satisfied playing second fiddle to a guy some compared to MJ at one point in time. (Don’t know how that happened with his mediocre shooting and below average defense. Random thought, I was playing 2k the other day and was simulating through seasons, trying to create a dynasty. With the new format the players begin to decline earlier than before and initially I thought it was exaggerated. But, I realized that there are guys like McGrady, Iverson, and Francis that literally just fell off the map. Injuries kill players and quickly. That is why what Jason Kidd and Grant Hill were able to do were remarkable; especially Hill. He was gone for basically 5 years and somehow came back and at the age of 38 is still playing at a high level. There are also the rare cases like Duncan, Nash, and Nowitzki who seem to consistently put up stellar number for 12 straight years now. I would say kudos to 2k for being pretty realistic in that aspect of the game) There is not much to say about T-Mac’s time in Toronto expect that the potential was there and, at the time, joining Grant Hill and the Magic was the right move.

Hill and McGrady: What could have been

Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill were supposed to be the next great tandem in the league. They would have been a worst version of Jordan and Pippen. I know T-Mac was not the defender Jordan was but, at his peak he was as good a scorer as any one I’ve seen. Do you remember the 13 points in 33 seconds? (T-Mac going off against Spurs) Grant Hill was one of the greatest players in the world when he joined the city that loves Mickey Mouse. Hill was an elite defender, a great rebounder, and a great passer. The thing is Hill was going to be better than Pippen but, T-Mac obviously did not compare to Jordan. (But, to be honest who knows how great the tandem could have been. What if the Lakers had to have played them instead of those inferior NJ teams? Everyone knew the 76ers did not stand a chance because they seriously only had Allen Iverson. If T-Mac would have defeated those Lakers with Hill, they could have catapulted their respective careers to elite statuses. Maybe the Lakers never break up because they do not get as greedy or maybe the break up sooner. The Hill and McGrady era never happening was one of the most unfortunate events that occurred to the NBA during the early 2000’s. The NBA could have really used an elite team in the East. Hill had seasons totaling over 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 20 points. His last year in Detroit he averaged 25.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 5.2 APG. In Orlando, Hill would have taken a secondary scoring roll but, would have been the Lebron James to Tracy McGrady’s Dwyane Wade. (Or we could use Pippen to Jordan but, Hill was every bit as good as McGrady. He was probably better at the time they both signed) Grant Hill torpedoed his career by playing with a bad ankle just to help his Pistons make a playoff push which came to no avail. McGrady was forced to attempt to win alone, without much of a supporting cast. He was never able to get past the first round and he was up 3-1 against Detroit and came up short but, Kobe did the same thing against Phoenix a few years later. You need other players to win. That was evident when he was traded for Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley in a blockbuster deal that sent him to Houston.

Yao and McGrady never reached full potential

At this point in time Tracy still had it and teaming up with Yao seemed like sure fire way of getting past the first round. I remember having very mixed emotions because Steve Francis, at the time, was my 3rd favorite player of all time behind Hakeem and C-Webb. But, I knew McGrady was the better player. In his first year in Houston, Yao and T-Mac lost in 7 to the Mavs. A series that Van Gundy publically criticized the refs and a series Tim Donaghy says was altered by the refs. Jeff Van Gundy loved running the offense through Yao and I believe he should have done it slightly less at some point but, somehow the Rockets could never seems to get past the first round. They constantly went far in series’ but could not win. Yao or McGrady were always hurt. McGrady for a career has averaged 28.5 PPG in the playoffs and has had balanced stats all around. His time in Houston was a failure because the West was so good during these years and the Rockets just seemed to never be healthy enough to make that final push. When there team finally looked very good the injuries really came pouring down on Yao and McGrady. Four years ago, Yao and McGrady was a top 5 tandem in the league and now one is retired and Tracy might as well be. I am not even going to discuss his time on the Knicks or the Pistons because that is an insult to the pre-injury McGrady.

Tracy McGrady one of the greatest dunkers ever

Tracy McGrady one of the greatest dunkers ever

Tracy McGrady had one of my favorite cross-over to pull up jumpers ever. He lulled you to sleep while starting at you and than rose up and made it right over you. He dunked over anybody (McGrady dunks on Shawn Bradley) who was in his way and was able to score at will, as effective as anyone else. As I said in the beginning there was a point in time where I felt he was better than Kobe but, Bryant never really suffered the lingering career injuries that T-Mac did. (Bryant also now has 5 rings playing in 7 finals. T-Mac sadly has 0 and 0) There was a point where Tracy was the most exciting player in the league and sadly we did not get enough opportunities to see him play at the highest stages. Yes, his teams lost but, in Orland he truthfully did not have many players worth mentioning. In Houston, his window of opportunity was very short lived because of what I have already said. When people discuss Tracy down the line, he will probably not standout like some of the other greats but, he should. At his peak, he was one of the best in the league. And for that the people that were able to truly enjoy him will remember him and regard him very favorably for a long time.


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