The career retrospectives keep pouring in about Tracy McGrady, who said on Monday he is retiring from the NBA (but don’t be shocked if he plays another season in China).
McGrady was one of the smoothest scorers we have seen in a long time in the NBA — there are guys like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James who will put up big numbers but they don’t look as smooth as McGrady doing it. He made the game just look easy.
And he could do the spectacular, as this Top 10 plays put together by the NBA showed.
For the young generation of NBA fans, Tracy McGrady was the guy your dad or older brother loved and you don’t get why, because all you remembered is an oft-injured guy on the end of the bench.
Vintage McGrady was a joy to watch — as athletic and as versatile a scorer as you’ll find. He could dunk, just ask Shawn Bradley, but he could also find a more creative way to score around the basket or just pull up and hit the jumper. He averaged 32 points a game in 2003 (and was relatively efficient doing it considering the load of the offense he took on, he had a PER of 30.3 that season) and he would drop 40 on any given night. He was about as indefensible as it gets.
Enjoy these highlights and let’s remember the guy who was the two-time NBA scoring champ, a guy who was as much fun to watch play as just about anyone of the past couple decades.
Tracy McGrady, one of the best and most versatile scorers of his generation, has decided to hang up his NBA sneakers.
McGrady made the announcement on ESPN’s First Take.
McGrady, 34, started last season playing in China then upon his return was picked up by the San Antonio Spurs and was a little-used reserve on the team that made a run to the NBA Finals. My guess is he may play again in China next season, but he says he is done with the NBA.
McGrady ends his Hall of Fame worthy career with an impressive resume — two-time NBA scoring champion, two-time All-NBA First Team, seven time All-Star
McGrady was the No. 9 pick of the Toronto Raptors back in 1997 directly out of Florida’s Auburndale high school. He and Vince Carter teamed up in Canada to make one of the more entertaining teams of the past couple decades. But McGrady burned a lot of bridges north of the border when he bolted for the Magic and signed a massive free agent contract.
McGrady’s best season likely came in Orlando, when in 2002-03 he averaged 32.1 points a game while carrying the Magic, using 35.2 percent of the team’s offense when he was on the court. He had a PER of 30.3 that season (for comparison, that would have been better than everyone in the NBA but LeBron James last five seasons).
There was a time when it was a legitimate debate as to who would have the better career, Kobe Bryant or McGrady. But McGrady started to have health issues and was never on a team he could lift out of the playoffs in the first round. When McGrady and Yao Ming teamed in in Houston it was thought they could form a contender, but both stars were betrayed by their bodies (while they had good role players around them but the team could not advance).
That said, McGrady should be in the Hall of Fame some day, one of the best of his generation and one of the games best pure scorers ever.
A few days ago had his public charity event, Kobe Bryant said the most difficult player for him to guard was Tracy McGrady.
Now McGrady is throwing some love back at Kobe. TMZ camera crews were hanging around LAX (as they do) and caught McGrady getting on a flight and asked him about his toughest to guard.
“It’s Kobe, all day…. Absolutely, ain’t nobody close.”
McGrady says he didn’t play against prime Michael Jordan, although his rookie year was the last of Jordan’s Bulls championship teams so there was a little crossover. But peak McGrady didn’t face peak Jordan. Kind of the same thing with LeBron James — they crossed paths, most recently in the NBA Finals last season, but peak McGrady says he never really faced peak LeBron.
So he goes with Kobe. This feels a little like the book publishing trick of having authors glowingly praise each others books on jacket-cover blurbs (they trade praise all the time). That can come off as hollow.
But Kobe is his call. A lot of you with disagree with it, but it’s his opinion.
McGrady has still not landed an NBA job for next season.
Last season Tracy McGrady started off in China, where he is still a legend and looked the part averaging 25.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
Then when that season ended he joined the San Antonio Spurs for the stretch run where he played a limited role (getting mop up duty in just six playoff games) but went all the way to the NBA Finals.
So what is the plan for next season, China or the NBA? He wrote about it on a Chinese social media service.
I’ll be making my decision on playing in the NBA or going back to CBA on my website coming soon
It’s not likely any NBA team would give him a guaranteed deal, and not a lot are going to have much of any role for him. So the question becomes is it better to get a nice paycheck in China or roll the dice you can make one more NBA team?
I guess we’ll find out soon enough, but my guess is he is headed back to China.