Tracy McGrady

Now that Tracy McGrady has played in the second round, who’s the best active player never to do so?


Ten years after he said “It feels good to get in the second round,” Tracy McGrady finally played in the second round of an NBA playoff series.

Now a role player with the Spurs, McGrady played the final 51 seconds of San Antonio’s Game 2 loss Wednesday.

He never led a team to the second round, which he certainly seemed more than capable of doing at his peak, but the oft-mocked McGrady will at least escape some criticism by playing Wednesday. Prior, he was the only member of the top 18 active players based on win shares not to reach the second round.

So now that McGrady is no longer the best active player never to appear in the second round, who is?

Judging players based on career accomplishments is probably the most sound sorting method. That way, players like Kyrie Irving at least have a chance before we stick this label on him.

Unsurprisingly, the field of top players who’ve never played in the second round is very thin.

Here are the top 66 active players by win shares:

pbt mcgrady second round

McGrady is represented by the black bar.

The three red bars designate players who’ve never reached the second round. Andre Miller – No. 19 among active players in win shares – leads by a wide margin. Though he never neared the same peaks, Miller is actually just behind McGrady. Other contenders include LaMarcus Aldridge (No. 56) and Al Jefferson (No. 59).

David Lee (No. 52) made his first playoff Friday night against the Spurs, so he’s now safe from replacing McGrady.

Perhaps I’m being too generous to Miller, who was arguably the Cavaliers’ best player at one point, but LaMarcus Aldridge might want to win a playoff series before he starts to receive the same criticism McGrady faced.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Markieff Morris will be a happy Sun

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After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.

So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?

Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.

The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.

Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.