Through three games with the Pistons, Tracy McGrady hasn’t embarrassed himself, but he also hasn’t done anything remarkable on the court. He’s actually been kind of hard to notice, scoring just one basket, getting a handful of rebounds and assists and generally, not doing anything to force his way onto the stat sheet by taking poor shots.
His widely reported 15-minute limit makes sense after missing most of the preseason. But what wasn’t widely reported is that his role might not expand much all season beyond those 15 minutes or so per game. From TNT’s David Aldridge:
Pistons coach John Kuester says that McGrady will ultimately be a regular part of the team’s rotation, and Detroit won’t be playing him extended minutes even if he shows physical improvement during the season.
That’s a totally reasonable way to view McGrady as his career winds down. With his passing and perimeter shooting ability, McGrady, if semi-healthy, would be a competent addition to about any bench in the league. But, based on his comment in the same article, I’m not sure McGrady views his role the same way:
“I have a weird body,” McGrady said. “But I feel, now, about 85 percent. We’ll probably go five games at a time, with 15-minute plateaus. And then I’m sure we’ll go up from there.”
Hopefully, the coaches win out on this one. If McGrady is healthy, I don’t mind if he plays. But even if healthy, he’s not going to be better than Tayshaun Prince. The Pistons need Prince to continue playing significant minutes and producing to hopefully attract good offers on the trade market. With Rip Hamilton‘s decline over the last two seasons looking like it’s continuing into this year, Prince is likely the team’s only tradable asset that could fetch a competitive offer in return. I don’t see how McGrady cutting into Prince’s minutes would benefit the team.