Ok, I could title a post like this pretty much every week right now. Let me finally say it, so I won't have to write it again:
Tracy McGrady is officially back. By officially I mean, I said so!
Not only does he have one of the most awesome profile pictures on NBA.com I've ever seen, he is also productive!
Let me remind me, this is the player who used to be on par with Kobe Bryant. He is a two-time scoring champion and quite possibly the greatest player ever to never win a playoff series. He was the player who scored 13 points in 35 seconds to beat the best defensive team of the decade, the San Antonio Spurs (sorry Boston)! This is the guy who once averaged 32.1 ppg, 6.5rpg and 5.5apg. If he can regain 80 per cent of that productivity, the Pistons would have one hell of a player. Even at 50 per cent he would be a starter for this team!
When Joe Dumars signed him many wondered (including myself), why he would sign a player for a position which the Pistons are stacked with. In retrospect it was low-risk, high-reward gamble. There are several players with an extensive injury history who have become more reliable the older they became. Somehow all of these players are or have been playing for the Suns at one point or the other (read: Steve Nash, Shaquille O'Neal, Grant Hill, etc.). I think it is a lot about the right habits, great training staff and a fountain of youth near-by.
I think McGrady should be rewarded. Dan Feldman at PistonsPowered has already mentioned he would like McGrady as a starter, I will jump on that bandwagon. He's such a versatile player that you can actually put people around him. There would not be the issue of two players with the same style of play (Gordon and Rip) and how to make them fit. Mc Grady can morph into passer, scorer and playmaker whenever he wants. As I explained in my last post, he rarely forces the action and he can drain midrange jumpers off the dribble all day.
It would still be better to give Rip away for the team's balances sake, but I think it could work anyway. McGrady has the potential to help Detroit make a push for the playoffs and at the very least he could make them enjoyable to watch again. I must admit, last night's game against the Bulls was the best Piston effort I have seen for quite a while. They actually defended well and the offense looked fluent in the second half due to McGrady's increased roll on the offensive end of the floor.
We currently are sorely lacking a player with one-on-one go-to moves. The players capable of doing so are Ben Gordon, McGrady and Rodney Stuckey to a certain degree. John Kuester has already tried giving Stuckey control of the offense. While he is showing the skill set to do so, his decision making is often very bad. He is pushing the ball too often and settling for the midrange jumper which he cannot knock down on a consistent basis. I would like to have him as the sixth man, but not as a our primary or even secondary option on offense.
Maybe the Pistons need to change their way of thinking and stop playing with a traditional point guard and start the five players that are most comfortable playing with each other. The line-up might look awkward (Starting Five: McGrady, Gordon, Tay, Monroe(Maxiell) and Ben), but since we do not have a starting point guard on our roster and McGrady being the best potential starting point guard on the team, it might be worth a shot.
We are still within the playoff picture. Let's draw an eighth seed!