When a bunch of nerdy guys got together in a room at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Tracy McGrady took a beating.
In a discussion of guys who most wasted the talent they had, former Rockets coach (and current ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy) as well as Rockets GM Daryl Morey listed McGrady. He was a good player, at times a very good player, but never the guy he could have been. They said his immense natural talent got in the way of his willingness to work at his game and so he never became what he could be.
Now with Detroit, McGrady didn’t exactly go Iverson practice rant, but he admitted to Chris Tomasson writing for Hoopshype that he was not a practice guy.
“I just wasn’t a great practice player,’’ McGrady, a Detroit guard, said in an interview with HoopsHype. “I just wasn’t. I wasn’t.’’
“That could be it,’’ McGrady said. “I just think I could cruise through practice and still be effective. Some guys have to really go (all) out to really have an impact on practice. My ability was just I had God-given talent to where I could just cruise through practice and still be an effective practice player… I was inconsistent. Some days, I have really good (practice) days where I just go hard and a lot of days where like, ‘Uh,’ and I just go through the motions. But I work hard. But I’m just not the best practice player.’’
McGrady basically confirms what Van Gundy said. To use the easy and obvious example, Michael Jordan could have cruised through practice and had an impact, but that was not his makeup. And those legendarily hard Bulls practices are a key reason the banners hang at the United Center. We could go down the list of Kobe and Garnett’s practice habits, but the point is made.
We’re talkin’ ‘bout practice. And it does matter.