Why Tracy McGrady is worth another shot

Posted on 07/27/2010 by

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Over the last few days there has been much ado about Tracy McGrady and where and if he’s going to play. Media outlets have run with the story, in my opinion unfairly, how he is more trouble than he’s worth at this point in his career. There has been much hand-wringing around his departure from Houston and his “character issues”.

Given the typical media rush to judgement on this sort of thing I decided to take a rational look at the numbers for Tracy McGrady and see if a team should risk giving him the minimum NBA salary.

These are the Facts:

  • As the Table shows, T-Mac was at one point in his career a .300 WP48 player before injuries reduced his effectiveness.
  • The last three years have in essence been lost to him due to multiple injuries (back,shoulder & knee). His knee injuries typically have a 2 year recovery time
  • As recently as 2009 he was an above average player at SF.
  • In limited action last year T-Mac was a below average player

Now there are three possible rational conclusions to reach:

  • Scenario A:T-Mac is done an effective NBA player
  • Scenario B:T-Mac can contribute as an outstanding role or bench player (around .100 WP48)
  • Scenario C:T-Mac can recover to be an effective starter who can help a winning team (around .150 WP48 or greater)

If this was twenty years ago, scenario A would be a heavy favorite with B being possible and C unlikely. But it isn’t. Medical science has come a long way and there is a reasonable expectation that T-Mac recovers 80% + of his effectiveness. Why do I think this ? Let’s look at exhibit A:

Grant Hill much like T-Mac was once a >.300 WP48 player before injuries derailed his career. His catastrophic injury cost him the 2004 season. But as we can see his later career neatly fits into scenario B (role & bench player). I honestly believe that T-Mac can come back and at least deliver as much as an average player at his position and given his low cost (veteran minimum) there are many teams that could take a risk on him. Given his age, he may at best still have a few above average seasons left in him and at worst give you some effective minutes.

As for the fit with the  Bulls, let’s take a look at the shooting guards and small forwards currently on their roster:

The Bulls if one assumes that Brewer starts at SG and Deng at SF have two above average players at those positions. Korver is a decent backup and T-Mac would also have to start in this role. I think he could be effective but at the end of the day the Bulls hopes lie with Brewer and Deng. So while I do think he’s definitely worth a shot on a team in need of low priced veterans who can score (are you listening Celtics) I don’t think he’s a good fit for the Bulls.

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