With news that Tracy McGrady is nearing playing condition, the Houston Rockets find themselves in a difficult situation.
Their team has looked good so far this year, despite the loss of both McGrady and Yao Ming, and management seemed content with what they have based on their hesitancy to throw T-Mac back into the mix.
One would think they would be thrilled to have a seven time all star back available to play, but they aren't.
Speculation about why is pretty much endless, but we can certainly focus on one possible scenario—management thinks T-Mac will hurt the team.
Is there any traction to this argument?
Looking at the past few years we find a more than a few disturbing things of note.
Not since 2004-2005 has T-Mac averaged even 1.20 points per shot. For what it's worth the Houston team is averaging 1.19 on the year without him.
Defensively he checked out long ago. Last year he barely offered resistance in most cases.
Tracy used to be an elite rebounder, but in the past three years he's only averaged 5.0 boards per game.
In those same years he's seen annual drops in assists, points, field goal percentage, free throw attempts per game, and blocks.
Coming off a full year without NBA action, he will almost certainly be rusty. At the very least it's extremely improbable he will come back to the play his best ball of the past five years.
McGrady is also not a guy that will likely be around the following year. For a team building toward the future, it just seems like giving him playing time would be the equivalent of treading water. Taking away minutes from younger players doesn't do them any good.
They aren't competing for a title this year, and it's not going to help them in the future, so they might as well just trade him, or leave him on the inactive list in hope of getting more insurance money.