When you hear names like Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Brandon Roy, it sounds like a group you want to be a part of. But don’t let it mislead you. The only connection between them is of a negative nature.
If there’s a category NBA players don’t want to end up in, it’s the ‘what could’ve happened if it wasn’t for injuries’ one. So many great NBA careers were ruined because a player simply couldn’t stay healthy. That’s the connection between the players mentioned. Now tell me, who would like to join them? Every NBA player we’ll say the same – they’ll pass.
The guys in that group know it best. Take Tracy McGrady for example. It’s hard to say his career was ruined. I mean, the guy is a Hall of Famer. But one thing’s for sure, the talk about T-Mac would’ve been a whole lot different if he was able to stay healthy. Instead of talking about him as one of the all-time greats, all people mention is his injuries. Oh, and the lack of playoff success, something McGrady became an epitome for.
About those playoff exits. According to T-Mac, he was always the underdog in those series. We’ve covered the topic, and no, McGrady wasn’t always the underdog. There were some winnable series that would’ve altered people’s perception of him, but he wasn’t able to come on top in those.
Let’s not get it twisted; McGrady as an individual post-season performer, was great, and you could never point the finger at him and say that he was the reason they’ve lost. But it was never enough to make it past the first round of the playoffs. You don’t believe me? How about this; Tracy McGrady is the second player ever, 25 or under, to average more than 30 points in 4 consecutive NBA playoffs. The first one to do it? Michael Jordan from ’86 to ’89. Guys like LeBron and Carmelo only did it for two straight years, while NBA all-time great scorers in Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant were only able to do it once.
Over those four years, T-Mac averaged 31.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 6.1 assists. The run includes the Magic getting swept twice, and losing to the Pistons in a seven-game series. Fun fact, McGrady didn’t have a single teammate who averaged over 16 a game during those three series. Safe to say it was a one-man show in which T-Mac lacked a true second option to help him get over the top.
So the next time you talk about T-Mac’s playoff exits, be sure to mention stuff like this. It may be just the numbers, but it does give some context to his post-season losses. His individual performances in those series can’t go unnoticed, and it can’t all be about bashing the guy. The guy who was amazing – just unfortunate. And one of the first guys that pop up in your mind when you think about the ‘what could’ve happened if it wasn’t for injuries’ category of players. And it’s such a shame because it sure could’ve been something special.