Tag: Tracy McGrady

File photo of Tracy McGrady of the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles driving the ball to the basket next to a U.S. All-Star team player during their basketball match in Qingdao

Tracy McGrady says he may return to play in China


Tracy McGrady was on the playoff roster of the San Antonio Spurs as they made their run to the NBA Finals, but understandably, he wasn’t able to contribute all that much.

McGrady’s skill set has diminished far below the electric level it once reached, and he’s no longer capable of registering meaningful minutes against the game’s best players.

But McGrady can still play, and showed as much in China before coming to the Spurs last season. And a return there isn’t something he’s ruling out.

From China.org.cn (via HoopsHype):

In a pre-game press conference in Nanning, McGrady said he might come back to China Basketball Association (CBA) league despite its under par competitive environment.

“For those who have played years in NBA and still want to prolong their career like me, CBA is a great alternative,” said McGrady who played a whole CBA season before he joined the Spurs, clutched 25 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game, and his all-star performance help him sustain his highly respectable status in China.

But he didn’t reveal much about the next stop of his career. “I am happy to be home with my wife and kids. But if possible, I may come back to CBA. I haven’t really thought about that,” said McGrady.

Those numbers endeared McGrady to the fans in China, and showed he still has something left.

McGrady did appear six times in the playoffs while with the Spurs, but never for more than eight minutes in a single game, and each time the contests had already been decided by the time he checked in. If he’s truly looking to continue to play, then China seems like his best option.

Andre Iguodala a riskier free agent than meets the eye

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets

Which of these players would you have most liked on your team last season: Andres Nocioni, Baron Davis, Brendan Haywood, Charlie Bell, Chris Mihm, Corey Maggette, Damien Wilkins, Earl Watson, Elton Brand, Fred Jones, Hedo Turkoglu, Joel Przybilla, John Salmons, Lamar Odom, Mehmet Okur, Metta World Peace, Michael Redd, Rashard Lewis, Rasual Butler, Ricky Davis, Ronald Murray, Stromile Swift, Tracy McGrady, Trenton Hassell or Walter Herrmann?

It’s hardly an inspiring list. World Peace was an alright starter for the Lakers. Brand took a lesser role with the Mavericks, and though his production slipped from previous years, it was still pretty good. Lamar Odom fit in well as a Clippers backup. Otherwise, the list is comprised of bit players or guys out of the NBA.

But all those players have something in common. They were 29 years old during the 2008-09 season. Four years later, they’re not nearly as appealing.

It’s a lesson to keep in mind as teams pursue Andre Iguodala, who opted out of the final year of a contract that would have paid him more than $16 million in order to seek a long-term deal.

Iguodala is an excellent defender and great in transition, two skills that typically don’t age well. He’s a good passer and a passable shooter, so it’s unlikely he’ll completely fall off the map, but any team pursuing him won’t be doing it for his passing and shooting.

A larger sample provides a reasonable expectation for Iguodala. Between the 1999-00 and 2008-09 seasons, 274 players have played a season at 29 years old. Here’s how their production, as measured by win shares, progressed from their 29-year-old seasons into the four following (adjusting for the lockout shortened 2011-12 season):


If Iguodala declines at the same rate – and the cracks already began to show last season, when his win-share total fell to 5.6 – his production will mirror, in order, the 2012-13 production of Tony Allen then Corey Brewer then Wayne Ellington then Evan Turner during the next four years. These aren’t stylistic comparisons, just using current players to set a comparison in production only.

Of course, this method for determining expected value includes players who fell out of the NBA counting as zero, but that’s intentional. Quite often, players can no longer play at an NBA level as they get into their 30s. We see the players like Steve Nash who defy age and remember them, forgetting about players like Chris Mihm who fall by the wayside. That inaccurately shifts our perception of how big a deal age is in the NBA.

I don’t expect Iguodala to fall out of the league before his next contract ends, even if it lasts four years, because he’d be beginning the deal with a higher starting point. But the relative decline of lesser players still informs an expected track for Iguodala.

Iguodala has plenty of value, and a team looking to win right now might knowingly accept the risk of his contract becoming an albatross just to get his immediate production. But teams should enter long-term negotiations with that risk in mind.

Game 3 television ratings for NBA Finals down from last year

Spurs' Duncan and Heat's James battle for position in the first half in Game 3 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in San Antonio

Blowouts are not good for television ratings, and two of the three 2013 NBA Finals games so far have been Joel Anthony and Tracy McGrady showcase time.

That’s not the only reason ratings have been down, but it’s one. Game 3 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night drew just more than 14 million viewers. That’s down about nine percent from a year but falls pretty much in line with the previous games in this series. These rat

Why are ratings down after a couple of years of steadily climbing? Probably a combination of things, starting with the Spurs never being a big draw. You don’t tune in to watch Tim Duncan. Never have. Not like you do other stars. The blowouts don’t help. And the national hatred of all things Heat has subsided somewhat as well (people aren’t tuning in to see them lose in the same numbers).

Ratings tend to climb as a series goes on, we’ll see if that happens with Games 4 and 5.

Tracy McGrady pretending to be LeBron James

Tracy McGrady, Kawhi Leonard

Kobe Bryant is one of just three active NBA players who’ve averaged 28 points, six rebounds and five assists per game in multiple seasons. A second is imitating the third.


Heading into the 2013 Finals, McGrady took on the role of simulating LeBron James in practice to help his team prepare for the best-of-seven series against the Miami Heat.

“That was before this series even started, just simulating a little bit of what LeBron does on the basketball court,” said McGrady, whose Spurs lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.

“I’m just doing the best I can and contributing in whatever fashion I can for this team to prepare themselves to win a championship.”

Tracy McGrady’s last 28-6-5 season came nine years ago, and with the Spurs, he’s limited to garbage-time minutes. I’m not sure how much he can really resemble LeBron anymore – and if he can, he should be playing more – but in typical Spurs fashion, everyone has a role to help the team.

As Kawhi Leonard and crew stifle LeBron, McGrady can feel like he’s contributing. McGrady probably envisioned being the best player in an NBA Finals rather than pretending to be him, but if San Antonio wins the title, I bet McGrady will be perfectly satisfied with how he helped.

Danny Green and Gary Neal lead Spurs’ historic 3-point shooting night

Danny Green, Gary Neal

Get ready, Tracy McGrady, Corey Joseph and Patty Mills. Nando De Colo and Aron Baynes, you might suit up too. Even Stephen Jackson should be on alert.

It seems Gregg Popovich can play any guard and get an elite performance in these NBA Finals.

Danny Green – cut by the Cavaliers and twice by the Spurs between stops in Erie, Reno, Austin and Slovenia – not long ago appeared like he had no NBA future. Gary Neal fit that profile the moment he sit foot on camps at Towson, one of the worst college basketball teams in the country, and remained on the edge of the radar during stops in Spain and Italy.

Yet, Green and Neal were hitting 3-pointers all over the court and leading the Spurs to a 113-77 win over the Heat in Game 3. Not only did Green (27 points on 7-of-9 3-point shooting) and Neal (24 points on 6-of-10 3-point shooting) lead the game in scoring, nobody else came within seven points of them. They were the best players on the floor by far.

Green, who made 5-of-5 3-pointers in Game 2, leads the Finals in points – ahead of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and everyone else. No other Spur besided Green has scored more than Neal.

Keep in mind, Green scored just 10.5 points per game this season, and Neal’s averaged even fewer at 9.5.

No two teammates had each scored 24 points in a Finals game with such a low combined scoring average since at least 1963, as far back as Basketball-Reference.com’s relevant records go, but this performance was revolutionary in more ways than one.

There’s an out-of-date phrase – “live by the 3, die by the 3” – that the Spurs have turned on its head. They set an NBA Finals record by making 16 3-pointers, but the only reason they accomplished that is having the guts to take 32 shots from beyond the arc. Popovich has figured out that 3-pointers present such high value, there’s really no undue risk in crafting a gameplan based on getting shots beyond the arc.

Not only does the plan work strategically – San Antonio’s offensive rating tonight was a staggering 125.1 – it excels psychologically.

Instead of worrying about getting pulled for missing 3-pointers, as they would have done while playing for the previous generation of coaches, Green and Neal engaged in the best individual battle of the Finals since LeBron James and Tony Parker were matched up late in Game 1. Into the fourth quarter, they went back and forth for the scoring lead.

Neal took a took a 14-5 lead at halftime thanks to his buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Green scored the next eight points between the two to get within 14-13. Neal stretched his lead to 24-13, and again Green answered, this time with 14 more points for a 27-24 win over Neal.

The Spurs were competing with each other, because the Heat couldn’t.

Green and Neal won’t always shoot this well, but they undoubtedly believe they can. At this point, all the Spurs should believe they’re perfectly positioned.