Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rockets are better off without Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady is one of the league's most overrated players. His stats show he can put up 20 points per game but on the court play is a different story as his team leadership skills is questionable at best. In his entire career the teams (Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets) he played for never made it past the first round of the playoffs. Last season he was limited to 35 games before missing remainder of the season with microfracture surgery. In the games he started and played team went 21-14. Without him, the team went 32-15. That is big improvement with Luis Scola and Aaron Brooks in his place. Along side with Yao Ming, Shane Battier, and Ron Artest they made it past the first round of the playoffs, a career first for Yao Ming and Rockets first since 1996-97 season, and took Los Angeles Lakers to 7 games in the second round before losing. For first time in several seasons the Rockets played together cohesively. That run prove the team are better off without McGrady. His knee surgery gave Rockets opportunity to take extended look at the player's potential with Brooks and Scola coming through while Luther Head was released. In a three-way trade they traded for Kyle Lowry hoping to become their long term point guard. While they lost Artest through free agency they signed Trevor Ariza, only 24, to a long-term contract joining alongside a youthful team of Scola, Brooks, Lowry, and Carl Landry. Rockets end up rebuilding and stacking for the future without tearing half the team up.

For McGrady he is on the last year of his contract and likely will not re-sign with the team after the season. He wore out his welcome in Houston last season with some of the team's fans turning their backs on him. Houston Chronicle posted on their website (now gone) highlighted his big contract on how he gets paid while injured. He went behind the team's back to have microfracture surgery. Yahoo Sports reported McGrady and coach Rick Adelman got into heated discussion over his court return which both deny. While he's driven to play he's a big risk with another question mark added to him. The question mark is his longevity in the league joining with his leadership skills, toughness, and injury concerns. McGrady "star power" is waning while the Rockets might rise higher in the future.

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