Tracy McGrady was at one time a premier player in the NBA. He participated in seven straight All-Star games and led the league in scoring during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. McGrady could shoot the ball from pretty much anywhere, he was the ideal player to have the ball in his hands in the final seconds. Now, with his career hanging on to its last threads, Joe Dumars and the Pistons look to revive this one-time superstar.
“It’s wonderful to finally be in the position to advance to the second round (of the playoffs).” – Tracy McGrady before Game 5 of the 2003 NBA Playoff first round vs. Detroit (Orlando leading 3-1)
For all of the magic McGrady created during the 82 games that make up an NBA regular season, the playoffs were not his best friend. While his scoring was just as good as ever, his teams would frequently rely on him too much and he never made it out of the first round.
His teams in Toronto, Orlando and Houston were incredibly talented, but never tasted playoff glory. Even in the quote he made above, his Magic were soundly beaten by an average of 20 pts./night for games 5-7.
So, can a player with 31 years on his rapidly aging body and under 10 pts./game last season, come back to lead the Pistons to at least the second round in 2010-11? It’s questionable whether a player with his injury history can last long enough to even see the court for a playoff game. What is not questionable is his desire to prove to the rest of the league that he can still play. Players that have made over $160 million in their career do not frequently sign for the league minimum.
If this same desire reflects on the court, the Pistons and Joe Dumars may have yet again stolen from the rest of the league from right under their nose.