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Will Tracy McGrady hit a wall due to his increased workload?

With his intelligence, decision-making, unselfishness and production, Tracy McGrady has been one of the biggest bargains in the NBA this season. He’s arguably been Detroit’s best player while making the veteran’s minimum, and because so few guys on the Pistons roster are actually producing at a level commenserate with their salary, it’s easy to understand why McGrady has stood out and been a good story this season.

But there’s also a reason Detroit was able to sign him for the minimum. Major knee and back injuries forced him to miss parts of the previous three seasons, and his trademark explosiveness was no longer going to be a big part of his repertoire.

Out of necessity, since he’s the most savvy of their several point guards in name only,  the Pistons have had to increase his role. But although that might make the Pistons a slightly more watchable bunch, is that ultimately a good thing for McGrady? Check out his production in relation to his minutes:

November:

  • Minutes per game: 18
  • FG Percentage: 47 percent

December:

  • Minutes per game: 20
  • FG Percentage: 49 percent

January:

  • Minutes per game: 31
  • FG Percentage: 44 percent

February:

  • Minutes per game: 27
  • FG Percentage: 41 percent

McGrady has played in 1,297 minutes this season. Combined the last two seasons, he played only 673 minutes. He’s already played in nearly as many games this season (56) than he has the last three years combined (65).

McGrady being on the court more has no doubt been a positive for the ball movement in the Pistons offense. But is it good for McGrady?

As his workload has increased, his jump shot has been less reliable. It’s clear that McGrady is still getting his legs. He very obviously benefits from rest. He shoots just 42 percent on the second half of back-to-backs. That climbs to 44 percent in games where he has at least one day of rest. And when there are two days between games, he shoots 49 percent.

McGrady has certainly taken advantage of an opportunity to rebuild his career in Detroit, but at the same time, he’s also playing for his next contract. He’s clearly a more effective player when he’s in the 20-25 minute range each night vs. the 30ish minute range. Although McGrady has proven a lot this season by simply getting back on a court and re-inventing the way he plays, he still has to get through a healthy season to earn a contract next year. With his February minutes down a bit from January, it appears the Pistons might be mindful that an increased workload for him isn’t ideal. Hopefully the time off at the All-Star break combined with slightly fewer minutes in the second half will allow McGrady to finish the season at the level he was playing in November and December.

4 Comments

  • Feb 16, 20111:14 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    if there’s a brain cell anywhere at the top of this organization where decisions are made, this will not even be the team’s question to ask; it will be someone else’s.
     
    team’s going nowhere this season. i’m ambivalent about tracy signing here for next year and beyond, due in part to valid questions about his durability. this has “trade” written all over it. but everything the organization’s done in the past three years has backward, so why not this?
     
    cash out some assets (prince and tracy, even stuckey if it were my decision) while they have value. who could support this team if they don’t??

  • Feb 16, 20111:26 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    Well I’d rather cash out some liabilities. Kinda sad when you have to trade your better players in some half-hearted attempt to improve. A little backwards there. Of course when your better players happen to be on their last legs, or their last contract years I guess that has to be the case.
     
    I’ve been a little worried about Mcgrady. He was averaging almost 35 min a game for a stretch there when Stuckey was out. What’s sad is Mcgrady hasn’t even been all that good, and he is still arguably one of the best players on the team. This roster needs help. I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Mcgrady or resigning him or whatever. I wasn’t opposed to the signing of him, but it’s hard not to wonder about the purpose of it. His presence has let’s just say been good for about 4-5 additional wins on the season, and when were talking lottery balls what was the point? This team would be a disaster to watch without Monroe and Mcgrady on it.

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  • Feb 16, 20115:17 pm
    by swish22

    Reply

    I agree Lazar we need to move these assets now.  If we could somehow rid ourselves of the defenceless Villinueva would also be a big positive!  Stuckey’s insubordination early in the year and again the other night and his general lack of improvement in decision making makes me think he needs to go.  Prince has had too much offensive load to carry this year and it sure would be nice for him to stay in Detroit but like Lazar said see ya! if its me pulling the trigger!
    Kuester’s had a tough job here guys.  Theres no doubt the players probably thought D Walker should have been hired in the first place since he was here last year!  Joe set him up to fail with this lineup of players who just don’t get it defensively! and no physical presence in the paint!   We had argueably one of the most physical young guards defensively that we gave away to the nuggets in Afflalo! for a 2nd rounder.
    With a couple of shrewd moves the Pistons will be much better next year but can Joe recover from his 3 year gaffs is the question!

    Question for you guys that are making it to the palace!  Does McGrady have a belly???   NEver looks fit to me in the midsection but hard to really tell on the screen! thanks.

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