If someone told me in 2004 that Tracy McGrady’s retirement would be an afterthought announced as a non-story in front of the immortal Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, then I would have been nothing short of shocked. Coming off back to back scoring titles and at the peak of his game, McGrady was one of the best players in the league. Ultimately his career did not live up to these lofty expectations because of his lack of postseason success, but I will examine this after stating the following facts:
•Every player with 18,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 4,000 assists and 1,000 steals is in the Hall of Fame. Even with the injuries de-railing his career McGrady finished with 18,381 points, 5,276 rebounds, 4,161 assists, and 1,136 steals.
•His gaudy stat line from 2000-2008 of 26.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.4 SPG with .44/.34/.75 splits, matches up with Kobe’s career line of 25.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.5 SPG with .45/.35/.84 splits.
•He had a run of 7 straight All Star Games and 7 All NBA teams during this stretch (two 1st team, three 2nd team, two 3rd team).
•The late Max Zaslofsky who retired in 1956 is the only player with a scoring title not to be in the Hall of Fame.
•His playoff numbers from 2000-2008 (35 games) are 29.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.1 BPG
•He did this
Those stats alone should be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame, but the lack of postseason success will most likely delay the amount of time it takes for him to get his due. Keep in mind the disparity of talent between the teams he was on and had to play against in the playoffs:
2003-04: Lost in 7 games with Drew Gooden and Darrell Armstrong as two other best players to a Pistons team which won the championship the next year (had same team but added Rasheed Wallace to put them over the top).
2004-05: Lost in 7 games to a 58 win Mavericks team (Dirk, Michael Finley, Jason Terry, Josh Howard, Jerry Stackhouse off the bench) while T-Mac had Yao in his 2nd year and not much else (Bob Sura, Scott Padgett, David Wesley rounded out the starting lineup).
2005-06: Lost in 7 games to a Jazz team which made the West Finals, still didn’t have much of a team outside of T-Mac and Yao (Rafer Alston, Shane Battier, Chuck Hayes).
2007-08: Won 22 games in a row during the regular season but Yao was injured for the playoffs and they lost in 6 to the Jazz.
It is impossible to discuss T-Mac’s career without using the word “if”, but if Grant Hill had stayed healthy and T-Mac and Yao were able to stay healthy at the same time then we would be looking at much a different legacy for T-Mac.
Instead we should celebrate one of the best scorer’s of all time and look back on games such as his 62 point effort against Gilbert Arenas, 43 points agaisnt the Pistons in a playoff win, Christmas showdown against a LeBron, his top 10 posterizations, going head to head with Kobe, or casually hitting 40 footers. You will be missed T-Mac, here is to hoping that your career is justified by an eventual spot in the Hall of Fame.
About the Author
Written by Jonathan Fawkes
I was born and raised in Brooklyn but I'm a long suffering Minnesota sports fan (Twins, T'Wolves, Vikings). Looking forward to Teddy Bridgewater, Byron Buxton and Andrew Wiggins bringing a winning culture to Minnesota. Thanks for reading!