Leading up to last night's Rocket's game where they were hosting the Detroit Pistons, I was all prepared to do a detailed analysis of Tracy McGrady's return to Houston. Shot selection, times ventured into the scary area known as "inside the three-point line," times defensive assignments were missed, number of times T-Mac gave his trademark sad face after a bad possession, etc. etc.
Then a funny thing happened...
Tracy actually played well. For real. It's true.
Tracy McGrady actually played a solid game of basketball last night.
Granted, as per usual, it was not enough to actually help his team win the game, but we've long since stopped expecting that kind of result from Mr. Mac.
In actuality though, Tracy simply has no help. He's stunned me by truly transitioning into an anti-Iverson "role" player - he's by no means the featured offensive player on the Pistons and he's not even a starter. To date, his season stats are rather mediocre for him: 4.1 ppg, 1.7 apg, 2.4 rpg on 45.2% shooting (but only 20% from 3-pt). This in only 16.6 minutes of action per night. Needless to say, he's not the Tracy of 2004 anymore.
But he actually looks competent on the basketball court for the first time since....... 2007?
Last night, Tracy chipped in a solid 11 points on 3-6 shooting. He even made his one and only 3-point attempt. And he made all four free throws he tried (really? Now you learn how to shoot FTs?!?). But the stats can be deceving, because Tracy actually was controlling the entire second quarter. This was when the Pistons flat-out owned the Rockets' bench. Tracy was the epicenter for all of the action and he was running the offense to a level of precision not seen since JVG was nervously pacing the Rockets sidelines. Unfortunately for Tracy, however, his teammates simply cannot make shots. Not even layups.
And then Luis Scola decided that enough was enough and 36 points later he showed Tracy who really is the boss on the court. The Rockets then pulled away in the fourth while Tracy's impact was marginalized.
All of this got me to thinking though: if Tracy truly is willing to be the savvy veteran on a deep team, why oh why wouldn't he be a perfect fit in Miami? Assuming he can swallow a bit more of the ego, couldn't you see Tracy being the point-forward on a team with LeBron and Wade and setting those guys up for easy shots and layups, and the occasional alley-oop? He's on a minimum contract, so he would not even be a salary cap concern in any trade.
Plus....... it would only make it more awesome when Miami fails to get out of the first round of the playoffs this year.
/sorry, necessary jab
Additionally, McGrady and LeBron James could have lengthy and impactful discussions on when is the right time to quit on your teammates and shut it down for the season.
/sorry, another necessary jab
Not to mention that McGrady could counsel Dwyane Wade on how to milk an "injury" to maximum effect.
/seriously, it's just too easy. Sorry 'bout that.
Okay, okay, enough beating a dead horse. I'm glad the Rockets won last night. I'm glad the Rockets fans booed McGrady as he very much deserved given his passive-aggressive woe-is-me "I want to know who they're blaming around here now that I'm gone" statement. I'm also glad that McGrady isn't stealing $24M from Les Alexander anymore. But I also recognize that when McGrady is right in mind and body that he can make for a very entertaining basketball player. And we should appreciate and applaud that. For real.