Last night against the Wizards, Tracy McGrady cut to the basket, caught a lob and finished with a reverse dunk.
Initially I didn’t bat an eye, because that was a typical McGrady play. But then I remembered the T-Mac who had no lift in his final days as a Rocket, struggled last year with the Knicks and played cautiously in his brief Pistons career so far.
And apparently, McGrady believes we’ll see more plays like that from him in the future. From Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News:
“I envision being that guy again,” said McGrady, now 31. “Whether that happens I don’t know. I would like to be that guy. I’ve worked so hard to get back to being that guy. If it doesn’t happen I can look in the mirror and say I’ve done everything possible because I’ve come a long way to come to where I am today.”
If I’d read that comment from McGrady a few weeks ago, I admit I would’ve been skeptical. But every time I see him play, I grow less so. It would be unheard for a player, at his age with his significant injury history, to return to the form that helped him win a scoring title and dominate games with his athleticism. But I don’t think we’ve seen the last of McGrady as a starting-caliber player in this league.
The Pistons probably don’t have enough minutes to give him so we can fully find out, but the basic reason McGrady came here was for an opportunity to show the league he can still play, and he’s done nothing to disappoint so far.
UPDATE: Mike Payne’s comment from below was worth highlighting. McGrady’s defense has been top-notch so far:
Warning– stat nerdery. If you have access to Synergy, take a look at McGrady’s defensive stats. On 49 defensive possessions so far this season, Tracy is holding his man to 29.7% shooting. That makes him the 13th best defender in the league so far this season– regardless of position.
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