Oh, if Tracy McGrady could only still play as good a game as he can talk. Because when he met with the New York media for the first time today as a member of the Knicks, he was saying all the right things.
“This is not the same Tracy from last season when I was hobbling on one leg. That’s not going to be me. ”
“I know these guys are seven games out of the playoffs, but this is the team I really wanted to come to.”
[If the Knicks can sign LeBron James Dwyane Wade] “I’d be a damn fool not to want to stay here . . . Money is not an issue [for me].”
That sounds great, but unless McGrady came to New York with a DeLorean and a flux capacitor that can go get the McGrady from 2005 or earlier, the words may be hollow. Injuries have taken their toll, but his field goal percentage has not been above 43 percent since 2004. When he’s taken a lot of threes he’s never made a lot. He has become a high-volume shooter — he’ll get you 24 points but he’ll need 21 shots to do it.
This much we know — McGrady will get the chance to back up those words. Coach Mike D’Antoni says he’s going to play from day one (“we’ve only got 29 [games] left”). Maybe McGrady has changed, maybe he is willing to accept a role as not being the primary scorer on a team. Maybe he has become the veteran willing to do the right things to win a ring (although we won’t find that out with the Knicks for a while).
Maybe. But we’ll need more than words to buy in. We’ll need actions.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.