Tracy McGrady is a Piston. It still feels a bit surreal, doesn't it? This two-time scoring champion, once brilliant but decimated by injuries, will be representing the red, white and royal blue when the ball tips in October. With so many variables at play here, it's not easy to predict what this will mean on the court. Matt, Kevin, Packey and myself do our best, while this series of player previews gets a whole lot more exciting.
Brian Packey: When a buddy of mine predicted that Tracy McGrady would sign with the Pistons, based solely on him seeing T-Mac at a bar in Detroit two days before any initial roomers surfaced, I thought it was crazy. The Pistons have umpteen wings, why in Jod's name would they sign another?
For a team that won 27 games last year and not in a position to contend for a title, taking a dirt cheap flier on T-Mac isn't even close to one of Joe Dumars' roster gaffes. When opportunity arises to fill the existing holes with legitimate players (who simply aren't available right now), or a younger player like Austin Daye earns the minutes to play over McGrady, the Pistons won't be in too deep to let go of or trade him. In the end, adding a guy who is looking to prove people wrong to a team looking to prove people wrong isn't what I'd call a recipe for disaster. If you want to see disaster, look at Ben Wallace shooting game-tying free throws, this, or last year's team.
What can he do? He lock down opposing wings, rebound, pass, and use his offensive-minded reputation to get to the line. Think Scottie Pippen on the Trailblazers. He infrequently turns the ball over, relative to how frequently he has it in his possession. He's one of the few players who has managed to be a very efficient player while being an inefficient shooter.
Which brings us to what he cannot do, namely jack up three pointers. A career 34% shooter from long range, Mcgrady brings nothing to the table from behind the arc. This has never dissuaded him from the endeavor, though he has toned it down the last couple of years. Teams were certainly give him the opportunity to let it fly from outside, since the Pistons were among the worst in three point shooting last year.
If McGrady becomes a spot up three point shooter, he'll be a bust. If he can improve one of the league's more anemic passing offenses, while chipping in across the board, he'll be a bargain, and could be a vital component of a return to the playoffs.
Matt Watson: McGrady's arrival in Detroit has been met with confusion, laughter and even scorn -- the latter, I suspect, stemming from lingering resentment over the failed Allen Iverson experiment. But while McGrady may be a faded superstar with somewhat inflated perceptions of his self-worth, that's where comparisons with A.I. should stop. First of all, the guy wants to be here, even if it's to prove the rest of the league wrong. Instead of arriving with a sense of entitlement, he's reportedly spent the latter part of his summer camped out at Detroit's practice facility with the training staff.
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Your turn, DBB.