Part 2 of the Mideason Reviews is in session. Part 1 can be found here.
Tracy McGrady - Season Stats
I'm going to be as frank as I can when I make this statement, because I've held it in for a long time hoping for it to be timely blind emotion, but now I see that it's true: The Houston Rockets must get rid of Tracy McGrady. Whether that means trade him, cut him (both of which won't happen this season), or permanently Starbury him to the bench, the Rockets must take him away. For a while, writers everywhere have said the following about McGrady (my response is underneath in bold):
"If he's ever fully healthy again, he can be the leader of this Rockets team."
He won't be fully healthy again. Ever. Put it to rest, because it won't happen. When knees are that worn down, you can't just work them back to the way they once were. Ask Earl Campbell. It sucks, but it's the truth. I miss the old McGrady, believe me. If he could play the way he used to in Orlando and during his first few seasons in red, I'd be happy to see him come back. But it won't happen, and it's time to accept that.
"When he's out, the offense seems to click more."
Hey, no shit. So why hinder that offense by bringing him back? Why use his namesake as an excuse to choke the life out of our offensive ability? Sit him out and let Adelman' scheme take it's shape. So far, we've been much more efficient with T-Mac in a suit. Plus, he looks better for the cameras that way. Which is all that matters with superstars, right?
"He's a great passer - maybe he can shoot less and average 7-8 assists per game?"
It would be nice, but it's not happening. A shooter shoots, and a star player shoots even more. It's all Tracy has ever known, and when he thinks he can bury an open shot (which is every other time he touches the ball), he's not going to pass it up.
It's not like we can't win with McGrady - we certainly can. But by the time the playoffs roll around, and Mac has only played for half a season, the rotations become screwed up and chemistry is curb-stomped. We must field the guys we want, as Dave said, and let McGrady sit. There would be no point in bringing him off the bench because he would slow Aaron, Carl, and others down, all of whom like to run.
As for T-Mac's play on the court this year, it hasn't been pretty, but hasn't been awful either. True, he's only shooting 39%, and at times, his effort mimics that of a girl apathetically trying to get through P.E. class, but his FT% has skyrocketed, he rebounds a decent percentage of the time, and his passing skills haven't dropped a bit. If only he passed it more...but he won't. Let's not try to get into that. It's tough to grade him, because expectations of him were once again way too high coming into the year, but here it is anyway. Grade: C
Yao Ming - Season Stats
I'm going to keep Yao's analysis brief. Offensively, he is still the most versatile weapon in the low post in the NBA. He can bang inside with the best of them and drop the ball in the hoop with a miniature hook shot, or he can Shanghai Shake someone on the baseline and hit a fadeaway 15 footer with ease. His rebounding is still solid, but it can be better, and he disappears on the boards at times. As Bill Worrell has stated, Yao times his jump wrong on many rebound attempts, or he is simply too far underneath the basket. But you can't ask too much of him. Same goes for his blocked shots - he's 7'6, so his ability as a shot-blocker is a bit skewed. He can whiff on some sure fire blocks, but he still gets 2 or so per game. In addition to that, his FT shooting has been phenomenal as always (when he actually gets to the line). Pray for good health, because there's not much else Yao needs to work on. Even his fourth-quarter stats have shot up this year. If I had to point to one thing, it would be what Deke said: stop trying to take charges and time your block attempts better in the paint. Grade: A
Luis Scola - Season Stats
Luis has improved in many areas in this, his second season in the NBA. His minutes, FG%, FT%, rebounds, steals, and points per game are all up this season, and his other stats have declined by mere tenths. His jump shot has become very effective, and he can really own the boards against smaller opponents. It would be nice to see Luis put up good numbers against the top teams in the league (Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, San Antonio, LA Lakers), because in those games, he didn't amount to much. And secondly, his defense has got to improve, or at least his help defense. I see him getting dunked on all the time. But no matter. Here's to Luis's continued development, and it's a testament to his hustle and ability to run the offense that he has maintained the starting PF spot over Carl Landry. Grade: B+
Von Wafer - Season Stats
Instead of throwing Vakeaton Quamar Wafer more bouquets of praise, I'll simply link to some of the articles that have been written about him on this site to date. You should find everything you need to know about him there. And if we forgot to mention it, he is a scoring champion. Nobody has been more efficient for Houston this year, and it's because of Von that we've managed to win without Tracy and Ron available. Grade: A
Coach Rick Adelman
Rick has sure had his ups and downs this season. Of late, his offense has taken form, his decision to start Von Wafer has paid off, and his in-bounds plays have been creative and point-producing yet again. But Rick has also made some interesting decisions. His obsession with placing the starters in at the end of games has cost the Rockets a few possible wins, and his late-game playcalling has been questionable. In addition to that, he didn't do anything to put the drama that we've experienced this season to rest. Think JVG would let that happen? I think not. You may reference this "puff piece" on Adelman written earlier this year for more insight on our head coach. I can't complain too much, however. We have won 27 games without a set lineup and with McGrady (I guess) and Artest injured. Grade: B-