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ESPN Page2: Mcgrady can be a mystery

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Rockets34Legend, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=neel/050121

    I watch the game last night and I see two Tracy McGradys.

    One of them ...

    Wanders out around the arc like a tourist lost in the big city, gawking up at the buildings and letting Grant Hill mark him without having to break a sweat ...

    Leans left with Doug Christie's hand in his face and somehow actually forces a never-shoulda-been-shot ball off the right side of the iron; the sort of shot that makes YBA coaches wince and parents cringe ...

    Bangs a three-ball hard and clean off the backboard like maybe he's going for a three-cushion combination in a showdown with Minnesota Fats, instead of going heads-up with the little old Pat Garrity standing in front of him just waiting to get taken to the rack ...

    Pretty much ignores his 8-for-12-on-the-night and seven-foot-six-tonight-and-every-night comrade Yao, no matter how many times the big man stands in the post making Dwight Howard look like the child that he is ...

    Fades away when he ought to fall forward ...

    Backs into Christie and does a little swing-left-shoot-right thing that, in the shoulders, is reminiscent of Kareem and Hakeem, but in the hands and the clanging touch reminds you more of Chris Farley doing Kung Fu ...

    Shoots early in the clock, with nobody under ...

    Palms the ball absentmindedly, and way out on the left elbow, while his teammates turn to statues in the park ...

    And aborts a drive, even when he's got Hill in his back pocket, and trades a sure two for an off-balance brick.

    The other ...

    Blows by Garrity with a first step that doesn't seem fair, meets a hard-charging Tony Battie deep in the key, absorbs the contact, holds the ball out wide to his right side and flicks it up and in off the glass like he's letting loose a dove into the air, just as pretty as you please ...

    Rises up, smooth and true, with a defender all up on him, and drains a long three from the corner as the shot clock winds down, bailing his mates out of a jam, and making me think he's some wicked, brilliant lovechild of David Thompson and Bob McAdoo ...

    Lies in wait at the top of the key and robs poor Grant blind with a plastic-man poke at the ball, turning a fastbreak going one way into a fastbreak going the other ...

    Drives the right side of the lane, waits for two defenders to come to him, and wraps a quick skip pass behind Kelvin Cato and out to Bob Sura, who cashes in from the three-point line ...

    Goes hard to the bucket, takes the blows, and hits 10 out of 12 of throws ...

    Falls to his left knee, loses the handle, gets it back and gets back up while spinning hard right to the right baseline, where Hill, left in his wake, has a nice view of his just-for-kicks switch to the left hand and the rim rattler that caps it ...

    Wants the ball when things get tight ...

    Continues to unselfishly kick it to guys like Juwan Howard, Andre Barrett, and Scott Padgett, even when they ham-hand his passes ...

    Smiles like he loves the game ...

    And does these little slow-motion slides, like the fourth-quarter one last night between Hedu Turkoglu and Cato, where he teases defenders with what looks like a reachable ball and defendable move, only to somehow embarrass them with a "simple" layup they couldn't stop in a hundred tries.

    The two Tracys. One drives you mad, the other knocks you out. A head scratcher and a gobsmacker.

    What to make of them?

    Conventional wisdom now says the first Tracy, the wayward son, is the real one. Conventional wisdom says he's a heck of a talent but a bad fit; too easy like Sunday morning when the moment calls for eye of the tiger.

    I can see it. I saw some of it last night, and like I said the other day, I've got some long-term doubts like most everyone else does.

    But I can see it another way, too.

    I can see how the man is so gifted that he spoils us. (Chad Ford over at Insider says his versatility and skill set are "unmatched by any player in the league"). I can see how we can't help but wish for, and even expect, more and better things from him every minute of every game. He does something miraculous and we think he should do it every time. He eats some poor mope up, and we believe he can never be stopped. He drops 13 on the Spurs in about 3.9 seconds and we say, "Do it again."

    We read his every move in light of what Magic GM John Weisbrod said about him, and in light of what he admitted about himself last season. We look at him through the lens of last year, and forget the three years before that when he carried the otherwise sorry Magic to consecutive playoff appearances.

    And maybe we forget how being "the man" on that Magic team, whose second-best offensive weapon was Journeyman Juwan, might reasonably have led to bad habits, and how maybe it would take some time to work your way out of those habits in your new world in Houston.


    And maybe we forget that he's just 25 and he ain't near done yet, too.


    And perhaps we should consider that with the minutes he logs (second in the league at 41.9), and with heights he reaches, there will always be some lapses and some failings; it's just natural.


    People are asking, "What's wrong with Tracy? Why isn't it working out in Houston?"


    Expectations were high this past summer, so the question is understandble enough.


    And the two Tracys tend to confuse and frustrate us as fans, so the question is almost inevitable.


    But here's the thing: The man is producing, same as he ever was. He's in the top 10 in nine offensive categories. He's averaging (after a slow start) almost 25 points a night, to go along with 5.6 assists and 6.2 rebounds. That ain't bad. In fact, that's real good.


    And not just good for him, but for the Rockets, too. Has the Tracy-and-Yao Show worked out? Not really. Has it been ugly at times? Definitely.


    But things are looking up. The Rockets have won six out of their last 10 (T-Mac's been the leading scorer on nine of those occasions), and after starting the season 6-10, they've gone on a 15-8 turnaround.


    Which makes me think maybe Tracy II is going to be the dominant one, and maybe the answer to the question is something like, "Nothing's wrong with Tracy. Be patient."
     
  2. lancet

    lancet Contributing Member

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    A real piece of journalism. The dude actually has the wisdom of watching a full game of T-Mac before actually writing, unlike most of the other garbage thrown out these days.
     
    #2 lancet, Jan 21, 2005
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2005
  3. KeepKenny

    KeepKenny Contributing Member

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    I agree with many of his points. Tmac can beat his defender every single time, but he settles for the outside shot too much. Sometimes when he gets inside, it seems like he has an easy layup, but then he passes it out beyond the arc. To see Francis play wild and out of control, but get bailed out numerous times by fouls leaves me thinking that tmac should average 12 freethrows a game.
     
  4. Mr Boo

    Mr Boo Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the article post :)
     
  5. DollarBill

    DollarBill Contributing Member

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    Great post. Hope I could see this kind of post every day, and I agree with you. T-Mac is just too talented, and young. He's still learning the game and how to play smarter and how to dominate. I have no doubt in my mind that T-Mac can dominate if he puts his mind to it. Now, the problem with T-mac is the same problem that Yao has now. These two dont' have that dominating mentality yet. When everything clicks, watch out!! ;)
     
  6. MrRolo

    MrRolo Contributing Member

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    t-mac might be a little too fragile to drive as much as Steve or even kobe for that matter.
     
  7. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    I don't think it is fragility. I think a lot of it is energy conservation. Jordan could beat his man off the dribble any time he wanted to, but he shot a LOT of turnaround jumpers. You can't run with reckless abandone for 48 minutes or you will wear down and when you need to make a jumper because the defense closes down, you won't have your legs.

    I don't have a problem with him taking shots. His percentage has been gradually improving since the start of the year.
     
  8. tim562

    tim562 Contributing Member

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    Agreed
     
  9. superden

    superden Contributing Member

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    GREAT post. i agree with you 100%. i think slowly he will mature even more (we are already seeing some of it). this guy has not only a lot of talent, but he is growing a will to WIN. i know he lost a lot of that in orlando, but he is slowly gaining that back. i totally agree, we are going to see an allstar tmac turn into a superstar.
     
  10. sjackson0

    sjackson0 Contributing Member

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    Thaks Jeff!

    I agree. I would like for him to go to the rack more often, but there are things called " collapsing defenders" that makes it hard. He still gets the job done and his percentage is ok from the field
     
  11. mogrod

    mogrod Contributing Member

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    Too bad that the rest of the writers associated with ESPN can't be this insightful, reasonable, and thought out as this writer was in this article.

    TMac is the best talent in the league. It doesn't mean he is the best player in the league, but he is simply gifted and blessed to have his skill sets to go along with his height. Those that bash him as a superstar seem to forget that he ALONE had the Pistons on the brink of elimination one year before their championship. He fell into bad habits playing in Orlando so it's going to take some time to re-adjust to how he is supposed to play all the time and win. What I think is the best about him, and what will eventually make him a true superstar of this era, is that he wants to be pushed and molded to play the right way. This will bold well for the future. And, just like Yao, it is scary knowing what kind of player he can be when he finally 'gets it' and it all come together for him.
     
  12. Fegwu

    Fegwu Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]
    "Hmmm...which T-Mac should I be today against the Knicks?"
     
  13. munco

    munco Member

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    I agree with Jeff's post too.

    He could drive to the hoop a bit more but not much more. Guys like Kobe, AI have to pull up to conserve energy and because they'd end up being injured quite often. While it does seem that T-Mac can get to the rim at will, it's just not a reasonable expectation. No one does that in today's game and no one will without getting hurt or being completely worn down early in the game.
     
  14. 4Shoposite

    4Shoposite Contributing Member

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    I disagree on some of your points. While I do believe that both Tracy and Yao can dominate (each in their own right), I believe that Tracy and Yao are two completely different individuals.

    I don't know what the deal is with sports writers and analyst saying that Tracy doesn't have the personality or mindset to dominate or whatever. I've watched McGrady his entire NBA career and the guy is probably the biggest prick on the floor. This isn't so much a bad thing, but McGrady, from what I have seen, is probably the cockiest person in the entire NBA. I love McGrady. He's the most entertaining player in the NBA to watch, but I believe his introverted personality gives people that impression...the same way it did for Hakeem, Bird, and a slew of others. IMHO, Hakeem's personality reminds me a lot of T-Macs. Hakeem, as nice as he was off the court, was one of the cockiest fools on the court.

    On the other hand, I don't believe Yao will ever be that type of person, which isn't a bad thing either.

    I think ignorant people out labels on what wins and what doesn't, when the fact of the matter is that there have been different routes, different options, personel, whatever, that has all rendered the final successful results of a championship. You don't 'have' to be this way or 'that' way in order to achieve a goal. If what majority of these clown sport writers were saying was true, KG would be the one sitting on 2 champion rings and not Duncan.
     
  15. hotballa

    hotballa Contributing Member

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    I have to say Jeff, I saw Jordan goto the turnaround and really develop that shot after he came back from his first retirement. He took it to the hole a lot more often when he was in his 20's than his 30's
     
  16. Texas Stoke

    Texas Stoke Contributing Member

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    Dang - Chad Ford had to go ahead and be right for once in his life didn't he.... I guess he just had to do it.. guess we'll all have our moments when we are absolutely right for once.
     
  17. don grahamleone

    don grahamleone Contributing Member

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    Nine offensive categories, huh? I count three. I'd love to know what this guy is talking about? Top ten in first quarter points, second quarter points, third quarter points and fourth quarter points, total points, first quarter assists, total steals, second quarter steals, fourth quarter steals and third quarter free throw percentage? That guy had to have made up this stat(Eric Neel).
     

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