I’m not sure Tracy McGrady fits in well with any NBA team at this point, but the Detroit Pistons are a pretty bizarre match. He may not be breaking the bank with his recently signed one-year, $1.3 million deal, but T-Mac is a fairly demanding offensive player whose level of production no longer validates his inefficient style. To make matters worse, the Pistons already had all kinds of options lined up at both shooting guard and small forward. Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton are set to be shooting guard fixtures, and Detroit’s forward crop yields Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko, and Charlie Villanueva.
McGrady will eat into somebody’s minutes, but why would the Pistons go through this much trouble to sign an aging superstar-turned-role-player-who-doesn’t-seem-to-know-he’s-a-role-player? Detroit isn’t making a championship run or even a legitimate playoff run, yet they insist on signing McGrady and sacrificing the playing time of either their young, emerging talent or their biggest trade chips/most qualified veterans.
Everything that has transpired between McGrady and the Pistons has been odd, but David Aldridge of NBA.com gives us a slight indication as to what the team’s thinking might have been:
A league source indicated Tuesday that the Pistons will work to
“un-jam the log jam” the team now has at the shooting guard and small
forward spots after signing the 31-year-old McGrady, who has been
working out for several teams this summer looking for a home, including
Chicago and Cleveland.
The source said that McGrady agreed
without conditions to play behind starters Rip Hamilton and Tayshawn
Prince next season, though it’s likely that Detroit will move either
Hamilton or Prince before the start of next season. It’s more likely
the Pistons will move Prince, who is entering the last year of his
If Detroit can successfully trade either Prince or Hamilton for a non-wing player, the move is made a bit more understandable. However, with the current cast in Detroit, it would behoove the franchise to dole out McGrady’s minutes among the team’s younger and more productive players.