Tracy McGrady, for­mer NBA star

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

What’s up: McGrady, one of the most ath­letic, ex­plo­sive and pro­duc­tive play­ers in NBA his­tory, is a can­di­date for in­duc­tion into the Nai­smith Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame. Should he be se­lected?

Back­ground: Be­fore his back was less sturdy and his knees be­came un­sta­ble, the ma­jor­ity of McGrady’s ca­reer passed every eye test. He was a 6-foot-8 shoot­ing guard. And few play­ers could score like McGrady. He once scored 13 points in only 35 sec­onds to win a game. He was a two-time NBA scor­ing cham­pion. He fin­ished in the top 10 in scor­ing six times in a 15-sea­son ca­reer. He was a seven-time al­ls­tar. He made first-, se­cond- or third-team all-NBA seven times. As a pure scorer, if not a great shooter, there wasn’t any­thing he couldn’t do on the court. In the 2002-03 sea­son, he posted a 30.3 player ef­fi­ciency rat­ing, one of only seven play­ers in the NBA’s mod­ern era to do that. And he is one of only eight play­ers to av­er­age at least 30 points in four dif­fer­ent play­offs. For a big chunk of time, there was real con­ver­sa­tion as to whether McGrady or Kobe Bryant was the bet­ter player.

Dempsey’s take: Play­off suc­cess, and sus­tained pro­duc­tion over a longer amount of time, even­tu­ally sep­a­rated McGrady and Bryant. Bryant, a for­mer Lak­ers star, played on five NBA cham­pi­onship teams. McGrady didn’t win any league ti­tles, and this is where McGrady’s can­di­dacy gets cloudy. In nine tries he never made it out of the first round of the play­offs. The last two times — when his in­juries rel­e­gated him to mostly watch­ing — can be tossed aside, but that still leaves seven in­stances when he was un­able to lift his team past the first round. Hall of Famers have to have a win­ning com­po­nent to ac­com­pany their sta­tis­tics. De­spite light­ing up the NBA, McGrady ranks only 62nd on the league’s all-time scor­ing list. The guess here is that he even­tu­ally be­comes a Hall of Famer, just not on his first try.

Tracy McGrady, the ninth pick in the 1997 draft, had NBA ca­reer av­er­ages of 19.6 points, 5.6 re­bounds and 4.4 as­sists per game. He played 15 sea­sons in the league. Elsa, Getty Images file

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