L.A. Lakers: Tracy McGrady Talk Is a Waste of Time, Even With a Time Machine

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJuly 19, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 04:  Tracy McGrady #1 of the Detroit Pistons grimaces after a foul against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on January 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

There's not really much news floating around the NBA since the current lockout has completely muted what would otherwise be a very active offseason.

That still doesn't mean players will not attempt to create news, the only questions are how far will they go and how outrageous can they be in order for their actions to attract major media attention.

In the case of Detroit Pistons forward Tracy McGrady, all it took was a picture he supposedly posted of himself on Twitter wearing his trademark No. 1 jersey but adorned in the Los Angeles Lakers' purple and gold.

Yahoo's Kelly Dwyer recently posted a story that is titled "Tracy McGrady wants to play for the Lakers," but there is no substantial evidence in the article to back up the claim, and furthermore, why would the Lakers even be interested?

McGrady and the Lakers have been connected in trade talks as recently as last season, but for some reason those rumors really never gained any traction, and I'm guessing this same rumor started over what could be a photo-shopped picture is destined for the same fate.

As it should be.

Don't get me wrong, I admire McGrady's almost superstar talent, and I too used to fantasize over what type of player he could be, but the reality of his potential kept getting in the way.

Some observers like to say injuries robbed McGrady of sharing the same revered space of a Kobe Bryant, LeBron James or Dwyane Wade in recent NBA history, but what McGrady has accomplished on the court over his own 14-year career doesn't support that opinion.

T-Mac has averaged 20.4 points per game, 4.6 assists and 5.8 rebounds over the course of his career and although those are respectable numbers they are no way suggestive of the type of player who was once thought to hold the NBA at the end of his fingertips.

And to add a little perspective to those numbers the last time McGrady even averaged double-figure scoring in a season was 2008-09.

So exactly what could McGrady do for the Lakers that he couldn't do for the Pistons?

McGrady is a decent playmaker in the open court and in half-court sets but in order for him to be effective he must dominate the ball, and that's not likely to happen on a team where Bryant is still the alpha-dog.

One of McGrady's most impressive attributes was his ability to get to the rim seemingly at will, but injuries HAVE robbed him of his explosive first step, and he no longer possesses the strength to muscle by opponents.

What the Lakers really need is a consistent threat from the perimeter, but they won't find that in McGrady either, since his 33 percent career average from the three point line illustrates that he has never really had the touch from long distance.

And for that matter McGrady's 43 percent career average from the field is even worse that Bryant's 45 percent which has been constantly used as an example to prove that Kobe's shot selection is questionable at best.

So, what would you call McGrady's 43 percent?

Beyond three-point shooting the Lakers probably wouldn't be to interested in McGrady's scoring ability anyway since they have proven scorers all over the court, but his defense could be valuable, if he ever took the time to learn any defensive principles.

And defense is what lies at the heart of my argument against McGrady, because even when he was considered a top-five talent he was still a below average defender.

One of the best things about watching a game that McGrady was playing in his prime was that you knew he was capable of having a big game, but so was the player McGrady was assigned to defend.

It's almost shameful that an athlete with the physical gifts McGrady possessed never took the time to learn the finer points of defensive principles, but he has been cursed by poor footwork and even worse technique since his days as a high school player in Durham, NC.

And finally there is the threat of injury, which may be more prevalent in McGrady than it is in Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

Consider, McGrady has never completed an entire 82-game regular season in his career, and the closest he has ever come was a 78-game campaign during the 2004-05 season.

I'm not sure McGrady's back is the reason he has never reached his superstar potential, but it is the primary reason the Lakers should pass on him regardless of how many pictures of himself in purple and gold that he posts on twitter.

McGrady might look good in that Lakers uniform, but only until his defensive abuse becomes to much for new head coach Mike Brown to absorb or his back gives out again. Whichever comes first.

I will not go as far to say that McGrady is one of the most overrated players of this generation, but NBA history probably will.


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