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Let's play the "what if?" game - today's topic: Tracy McGrady

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I know, I know... it's really dangerous to open up an actual debate on the hypothetical scenarios of Tracy McGrady. I mean, what if he really does return to the Rockets' roster this year and is actually allowed to participate in team activities? What if... what if... what if...? (I think someone once had some good advice for me on asking about things like this):

Nonetheless, with the regular season starting next week, I will brave the inevitable minefield and pose the question: What can we reallyexpect from Tracy McGrady this year?

My take? Tracy McGrady is on the downside of his career. This is not in dispute. He is also coming back from a (supposedly "minor") microfracture surgery on his knee. The list of players who have successfully recovered from any microfracture procedure is small. And even those players' "success" is debatable since none ever returned to their previous level of athletic ability.

As for McGrady, we can't ignore the previous season when he attempted to return from shoulder surgery and a "minor" (at the time) arthroscopic knee surgery. The results? Quite simply the most unproductive year since his rookie year - and since he only sat on the bench back in 1997, the 2008/09 season was certainly his most detrimental to his fellow teammates. Let's do the numbers:

38% FG shooting
37% 3-pt shooting
(note: nearly 1 in 4 of his FG attempts was from beyond the arc)
15.6 ppg
4.4 rebounds
5.0 assists
80% FT

... only his assist and FT marks were above his career averages.

The most damning stat of all? The Rockets escaped the first round of the playoffs. Without him.

So, it's safe to say you will never see this again:

But what about the 2009/10 season? It's all that matters right now and living in the past doesn't do any good (especially for our protagonist here).

Will McGrady average 20+ points a game? (No.)
Will McGrady stop shooting unnecessary 3-pointers? (No.)
Will McGrady participate on a team that makes it to round 2? (Ummm, maybe. I hope so this year.)

But what do you think?

update! Thank you to TrueHoop for the Monday afternoon link. Though I never once said in this post that Tracy McGrady would never be an all-star again. I don't think he will, but that is not the point of the article. I'm more concerned with how he fits into the current Rockets rotation (if he indeed does return).