The seven-time All-Star, two-time NBA Scoring Champion can obviously play. But can he at that high of a level still?
A large part of the steady decline in the play of Tracy McGrady has been due to injury. He has only played in 65 games in the last two years combined, playing only limited minutes this past year.
It's not like he's some old fart either, McGrady was in his 20's just two years ago. But the question remains: which Tracy McGrady will we see next year? And will he help and fit in with the Detroit Pistons?
Assuming Boston, Orlando, Miami, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Chicago all make the playoffs next year, that leaves two spots open for the taking.
They will be fought for between Charlotte, Detroit, Cleveland, Washington, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Toronto.
Now, there must be some consensus that teams like Philadelphia, Toronto, Indiana, Cleveland and Washington are going to have harder times making it into the playoffs next year, so the two remaining playoff spots will realistically be between Charlotte, Detroit, New York and New Jersey.
Does the addition of Tracy McGrady help the Pistons' chances? Let's see.
The Detroit Pistons' roster is a roster you look at and see a bunch of "good" players. But none are great.
The depth chart is filled with middle-of-the-road players or greater but they don't seem to have the glue holding them together. Could that be Tracy McGrady?
I don't think so.
Tayshaun Prince will assume the starting SF spot he has held since the 2003-2004 season, and there will be no playing time at SG as Hamilton and Gordon split shifts.
So will Tracy McGrady willfully grasp the reins of being a role player? Tough to say. I'm willing to lean towards no, and as you look down the long list *sarcasm* of former scoring champions turned role players past their prime, you start to see a familiar pattern (i.e. Allen Iverson).
Which brings me to my next slide:
Allen Iverson played in 54 games for the Pistons in 2008-2009, missing games due to "personal problems" and between dealing with problems he had with the coach and the management -- it became clear he was not a good fit.
Who's to say T-Mac won't be the same way? Nobody. But the same goes for who is to say he will be completely different.
The former Scoring Champion, Iverson, had trouble adjusting to coming off the bench and not being the focal point of a team's offense.
A lot of that has to do with a man's ego... which brings me to my next slide:
Will Tracy McGrady do his best to disprove naysayers? Yes. Is that always a good thing? No.
Players like T-Mac who go out to prove doubters wrong often just have a lot of ego built up from when they were the great players they were. And they go out and try to do things the way they used to, but often fail to realize that they don't have the same capabilities.
They play outside of their abilities and get frustrated and become a locker room problem.
As far as the locker room goes, Tracy McGrady is no Allen Iverson, nor is he a Kevin Ollie (12-year veteran brought in by Oklahoma City management to serve as a role model for the young Thunder team in the locker room).
But when he has quotes like these: "It's not like I'm 41 or even 35," McGrady said August 16th. "I just turned 31. No one has come down and stolen away my talent - I still have a lot in the tank" and then goes out and proves himself wrong, things could get ugly.
If everything goes okay and the Pistons are winning then he'll be fine. If he plays another frustrating season for a frustrating ball club the media could get involved and blow things out of proportion.
If Tracy McGrady plays to his full ability for 82 games this coming season the world may freeze over and go into another ice age.
The main question surrounding the Pistons' signing of T-Mac is: will he stay healthy?
Nobody can answer that, but it's much easier to say no than it is to say yes. Never having completed an entire 82-game NBA season, averaging 62.6 games played per season in his career, it's fair to say he will miss a few games next season.
But nobody will know until it happens. And how do we know he truly is back in form and fully recovered from his injuries? We'll have to wait and see.
Which is what makes the NBA so exciting, bring on the 2010-2011 season!