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Tracy McGrady is really a great all around player who is not great at scoring?

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Van Gundier, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. Van Gundier

    Van Gundier Member

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    Seems like an odd question to ask, but it's perhaps more of a legitimate question than one might think. It's kinda inpired by Tango's earlier observation that the main improvement last year for the Rockets when TMac/Yao played was on the defensive rather than the offensive end.


    First, let me clarify
    that I am not disputing that McGrady is a superstar or an impact player. He is. My question is about how he makes his impact.

    Second, I'm also not disputing that he is capable of scoring. He is well above average in terms of his scoring ability.

    What I do question is whether the common perception that 1)McGrady is one of the top elite unstoppable scorers in the league and 2)McGrady is a superstar and helps his team win mainly by scoring 25-30+ points a game.

    My theory is that McGrady's natural talent set is that of an elite all around player rather than that of an elite scoring matchine -- more Scottie Pippen than Jordan/Kobe-- and his high scoring average is more of a matter of his teams often lacked offensive punch around him and needed him to masquerate as Jordan.

    Evidence that led me to my theory/speculation:

    McGrady's career regular season TS% is 52.6%, which is right around the 50th percentile (correct me if I'm wrong, durvasa). He only had one season where his TS% is significanly higher than average-- 2002-2003, when his TS% was 56.4%. Check out his stats here

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/mcgratr01.html

    It seems his 56.4% TS% in 2002-2003 is more of an abberration than the norm so far in his career.

    His career playoff TS% is 53.7%, slightly better than his regular season numbers.

    Compare these numbers to the other elite swingmen scoring machines:

    Jordan's career TS% was 56.9%.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html

    Wade's career TS% was 56.1%
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/wadedw01.html

    Kobe Bryant's career TS% was 55.2%
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bryanko01.html

    Lebron's career TS% was 54% (55.4 and 56.8% after his rookie year)
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jamesle01.html

    Ray Allen's career TS% was 57.1%
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/a/allenra02.html

    Even cousin Vince Carter, whose career TS% is 53% (tainted by some bad years in TOR), has had years of 54.3%, 54.1%, 55.1%, and 53.6%... TMac has had only 1 season of TS% at or above these levels.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/c/cartevi01.html

    Paul Pierce has a career TS% of 55.6%

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/p/piercpa01.html


    TMac's career TS% is more like that of Jerry Stackhouse (52.5%) and Glenn Robinson (52.9%) than most of these guys.

    One could argue that TMac had scrubbier teammates than these guys and face more double teams. However, Kobe managed TS% of 56% in the past two seasons on mediocre teams. Ray Allen had a TS% of 59% and Pierce had a TS% of 58.2% for lotto teams, too. I wouldn't say any of these guys really face that much less defensive attention than TMac did.

    I would gladly take TMac's 52.6% TS% over, say, the higher FG% of a secondary star like R.Jefferson and Maggette, who have more of their shots created for them, but when you compare him to the other primary offensive options who serve a similar role Grady, his TS% numbers still don't look that good.

    So, my thinking is that TMac may not be as great a scorer as many of the real elite swingmen scoring machines who are similarly expected to carry the load on offense.

    Nevertheless, there is no doubt McGrady makes the team better. My hypothesis is he does it not so much with his scoring, but rather with his defense and by setting up teammates for easy opportunities while the opposing D concentrates on him. Guys like Sura, Garrity, Padegett, Barry, even Yao all got easier shots with McGrady around and had some of the highest % shooting with McGrady.

    Going forward, I think this could mean that the Rockets are better off not depending on McGrady to score 25+ a game, but rather limit him to 18-19 ppg while devoting more energy to doing everything else. This is going to depend first on the development of Yao (who is a high TS% guy) and second on Snyder and Battier being able to finish plays at a high clip. To a certain extent, the less McGrady scores next year, the better off the Rockets will be.
     
  2. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    When juxtaposed against the thread title, I think the quoted comment is a euphemism for "I know the title is really stupid, but I want to start another thread today."
     
  3. Van Gundier

    Van Gundier Member

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    Juxtapose it with the rest of the post, then.
     
  4. dwmyers

    dwmyers Contributing Member

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    Without having analyzed the situation in depth, I do feel that McGrady forces offense at times, perhaps at times when it's not optimal for him to do so. When you have the skills to create a shot, but not perhaps a good shot, you may feel forced under certain circumstances to do so. I have to ask myself whether Tracy has gotten to the point where he'll give up his opportunity and let his teammates play. His teams, as you say, have not been good so he may feel forced to create. But, as Hakeem really didn't go from being a good player to a great player until he could give up his shot, the same may be true of Tracy as well.

    David.
     
  5. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    maybe. or maybe I could juxtapose it against one of the cardinal sins of starting threads...responding to the first response rather than patiently waiting for more fish to jump into the pool.

    sigh. I made another cardinal sin of posting in pointing out another cardinal sin of posting while posting. does that make sense to anyone. plus, i'm probably the most guilty person on the board of responding too fast to responses without letting others speak. sigh.

    but you have to admit...your thread title is pretty provocative is a senseless manner...which...maybe i can claim...is causing my senseless replies.

    maybe maybe no. or maybe i need more ice.
     
  6. MrRolo

    MrRolo Contributing Member

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    I agree and I think Tmac does as well. At this point in his career he would love to have the Robin on his team take off the scoring load that is automatically placed on him just because he can get hot and take a team out of a hole or into a blow-out win within minutes. He came to the Rockets to have Yao as his Robin, which he has never had for a full season until he came to Houston. Yao has emerged as a force to be reckoned with recently and T-mac shall get what he came for, a chance to maximize his full potential, which is not being an unstoppable scorer but a great playmaker, defender, ball handler, clutch and a leader on the court.
     
  7. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    Van Gundier, let me preface my response by saying that your joining the forum earlier this month has made it better.

    But your theory that Tracy is more Pippen than Jordan/Kobe is pure nonsense. I barely looked at your statistics because they don't begin to answer the question. To answer the question, you have to look at the skillset of the player and how he uses those skills. Tracy's offensive skills are as good and varied as anyone in the NBA. His main weakness on offense, IMO, is shot selection. What he does better than anyone in the NBA is use both hands when he (rarely) attacks the basket.

    Your questioning whether Tracy is one of the top elite unstoppable scorers in the league is also way off base. Like I said above, you have to watch him play. Nobody makes it look easier, even Kobe. Statistics don't tell the whole story.

    If the Rockets are to contend for a championship, we must have Tracy scoring 25 pts/game, shooting a decent FG%, drawing double teams and hitting the open man. If he only scores 18-19 pts/game, we are in a heap of trouble.

    Keep posting your ideas because most of them are very good. But on this one, you are way off base. This year, Tracy better step up and be what we all know he can be or a lot of us will be very disappointed. With his injury and mood swing problems last year still in mind, he has a lot to prove in his 3rd season here.
     
  8. Van Gundier

    Van Gundier Member

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    Sorry about the faux pas. Oh well, live and learn, thanks for pointing it out. :)

    As for the title... Provocative? Perhaps. Untrue? Probably not.

    TMac has had a pretty long career, as have guys like Kobe, Pierce, etc... and the numbers seem to indicate that for all his talents, his scoring efficiency is just a notch below these guys. Maybe he'll get back up to his one year peak level in 2002-2003, but I'm not counting on it.

    That's all I want to bring up.
     
  9. Jacquescas

    Jacquescas Contributing Member

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    wow its the dog days of summer, when will training camp ever start.
     
  10. Pass 1st shoot 2nd

    Pass 1st shoot 2nd Contributing Member

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    Don't feel bad. I was an arsehole to some guy in the Kobe/Clyde thread yesterday.

    But I get your point about the absurdity of the post, sort of. Scorer's aren't necessarily pure shooters. But neither are the guys Senior Thread Starter mentioned. It is fair to say that McGrady has some shot selection issues, and that McGrady might be better off working on his all-around ability rather than putting up 30 pts. on 41/33% shooting. But not on this team, not right now. Jack 'em up, T-Mac! Just be sure to dump it in to Yao and to pass it out to Novak.
     
  11. Van Gundier

    Van Gundier Member

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    Thanks for the feedbak... I just wanted to run the idea by you guys. I agree his skill set is different than Pippens, and I also agree his shot selection could improve-- his numbers would look better if he attacked the basket more rather than settling for the J.

    Then again, can he attack the basket more for 82 games (or even 70 games) a season? Given his health, is jump shooting and/or passing up shots the better course of action during the regular season-- even if it means the team ends up the 6th or 7th rather than the 4th or higher seed?

    One of the things I was looking at is that TMac seemed content to let Yao dominate during the few games they played together in the 2nd half. He would score in small bursts rather than creating the offense on every play. Maybe it's too small a sample to make any conclusion out of...
     
  12. compucomp

    compucomp Member

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    Looks can be deceiving especially when you come to such an "explosive" scorer who has such "athletic ability." People complain all the time about why Swift doesn't get more PT with all of his "upside." Statistical analysis is used to complement visual scouting and also used to uncover possible flaws or features that are obscured by the "explosiveness" of a player that typically draws the focus of traditional scouts.

    The haters said this in baseball too and look at where they are now.

    Keep hating on Moneyball. When the value of statistical analysis proves itself in basketball it will be your turn to eat crow.
     
  13. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    Allen Iverson does not fare well, career-wise, by TS%. Is he not a great scorer?
     
  14. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous
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    All of you sinners will burn in hell one day, that I am sure of.
     
  15. DaDakota

    DaDakota Contributing Member

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    You and I can host the party at the bar !
     
  16. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    Exactly where did I say I hated Moneyball? I said stats don't tell the whole story and that two of Van Gundier's premises in this thread are wrong. Where in the world are you coming from? I actually like the Moneyball concept when it comes to evaluating how effective a player is. But with basketball, it has to be used in conjunction with observation. Using Swift as an example, it was easy to observe how lazy and clueless he was on the court. Athleticism has nothing to do with it, it's how a player uses his athleticism on the court. You don't observe "upside"; you observe results. Try reading my earlier post again.

    This whole "hater" stuff has gone off the deep end. Some of you guys need to stop the name calling and realize some people just disagree with you. It's that simple. Hatred of a player or a method of player evaluation or whatever else has nothing to do with it 99% of the time. Please grow up.
     
  17. pgabriel

    pgabriel Contributing Member

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    what is ts%?

    not knowing what that is, I tend to agree just on what I've seen. one thing about all the guys you listed, even when healthy, he doesn't take the ball to the basket as much as the other guys. he plays more within the flow more than the other guys. and almost everyone you listed, if you paired tracy with them, he would be the pippen even paul pierce.

    but I don't see that as a slight against tracy. it really just goes to show what kind of talent he is. he definitely can put up the points with those guys.
     
    #17 pgabriel, Jul 29, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2006
  18. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    This reminds me of another cardinal sin of posting: meeting a cc.net member in person and later in a random thread mentioning their best feature. Like something about eyelashes? hmmm. I can't remember. Not sure.
     
  19. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    Measures scoring efficiency. Takes 2 points scored per scoring attempt as a baseline -- it's the ratio of actual points scored to that number.

    League average most years is around 53%.
     
  20. JimRaynor55

    JimRaynor55 Member

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    Van Gundier, you are quite correct in pointing out that T-Mac's career TS% is so-so, and not as good as some other star swingmen in the league. However, shooting efficiency isn't the only thing that must be considered when it comes to scoring; point production also matters. As you pointed out yourself, T-Mac is well above average in scoring ability.

    Basketball-Reference.com

    Statistically T-Mac isn't very close to Pippen. Pippen was clearly a second banana type of star. His career usage rate (a measure of possesions personally used up per 40 minutes; assists count in this but not nearly as much as scoring attempts) was a more modest 22.8. Pippen's career points per 40 minutes was only 18.4. This is dragged down by his twilight seasons; however even in his peak it was only at or just above 20 points. However, Pippen's career assist ratio (percentage of used possessions that were assists) was 22.7; this is similar to "point forwards" and "combo guards" who do quite a bit of passing along with shooting.

    Here are T-Mac's career stats:
    Points per 40 minutes - 25.5
    Usage Rate - 28.3
    Assist Ratio - 15.8

    These stats paint a profile of T-Mac that is much closer to a player like Kobe, who has stats of 26.7, 28.7, and 15.4, respectively. Basketball-Reference also has a "Similarity Score," a way of comparing players based on stats and some physical attributes (height). Guys like Kobe, Vince Carter, and Dominique show up as being the most similar to T-Mac. Make no mistake about it, T-Mac is a scorer. That's not to say that he's no a good overall player as well; however I think that asking him to drastically change his game so that he only averages 18-19 ppg is not only asking too much, but not necessarily good for the team.

    I do agree that in an ideal situation, T-Mac should shoot a bit less. Over the last two seasons, he has maintained a tremendous usage rate in the low 30s, even though his TS% has fallen significantly since his monster 2002-2003 season. Few players in the league shoot this much, others being Iverson and Kobe. T-Mac's high usage with mediocre/subpar shooting efficiency was one of the reasons I wanted Mike James. I figured that the team's offense would be improved, not only because it had Mike James (who is a high efficiency scorer), but because T-Mac's usage would come down a bit. He would still get a lot of shots, but about as much as less trigger happy All-Stars. T-Mac could then save his energy, allowing him to shoot more efficiently, or devote himself a bit more to other parts of the game.

    However, with the team's failure to sign Mike James, I don't know if that's possible. If T-Mac doesn't shoot, who will? Yao is the obvious answer, but the team struggles to even get him the ball. You don't want guys like Rafer or Juwan shooting more, because they suck. Battier is efficient, but he's always been a low usage player. Snyder can score, but over his two seasons so far he hasn't been significantly more accurate than the recent version of T-Mac.
     

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