Upon arriving in New York, Tracy McGrady’s 29 game stint as a Knick was highly regarded as his tryout for a contract this offseason.
At the surface, McGrady’s first few games as a Knick do not look so bad, despite the Knicks’ 1-4 record. After missing much of the last three seasons due to injury, McGrady has labored through five games, averaging 25.8 minutes.
His 14 point average has been highlighted by a 44 percent shooting percentage and an average of 3.8 assists. While the numbers aren’t exactly equal to what made McGrady a multi-time all-star, he has shown flashes that prove he may be able to get to that point once he gets back in shape.
It’s the Knicks record that has not reflected flashes of greatness since McGrady’’s arrival.
It would be unreasonable to expect McGrady to be the savior, but it’s hard not to look around and see that McGrady’s presence has made a few of his teammates uncomfortable on the court.
Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, two of McGrady’s key potential teammates next season, have struggled to find their footing on offense since his arrival.
Gallinari, who entered the all-star break leading the NBA in three point field goals made, has fallen behind the Rockets’ Aaron Brooks for the league lead, shooting only 2 for 14 from long range with McGrady as a teammate. He has also only scored in double figures once, an 11 point performance Saturday night.
Chandler has only averaged 12 points on 43 percent from the field, both statistics taking a dip from earlier this season.
The decrease in his teammates’ production should be a cause for concern for McGrady and the Knicks. Gallinari and Chandler are two of the Knicks’ most prized prospects in quite a while, and if McGrady cannot effectively co-exist with them, he may not get an invite back next season.
It also may suggest that Gallinari and Chandler will have trouble fitting in with any of the ball dominating stars the Knicks will covet this summer.
Neither Gallinari nor Chandler are regarded as a future star, someone who can be the team’s number one offensive option. This proves that the Knicks desperately need a stronger offensive weapon, and for the two prospects to thrive as strong role players under one or more given coveted stars.
It will be interesting to see how Gallinari, Chandler, and the rest of the Knicks mesh with a player like McGrady. The outcome could be very telling in regards to everyone’s futures.
Although McGrady’s unsuccessful stint in New York could scare off potential free agents looking to sign with a winner, the best remedy for this situation may be time. The team may ultimately find its groove by the end of the season, considering that it has managed to play competitively despite the mounting losses.
It’s only a matter of time before the team figures out whether the problem is its prospects’ lack of confidence, or if it’s McGrady who simply cannot ease into the flow of the offense as a teammate, not just a star.
If McGrady is unable to ease into this offense, his destinations may be limited come this summer.
His future, as well as the team’s summer goals, are very much at stake as they try to figure things out in a very limited period of time.
24 games left and counting.