On Sunday, Tracy McGrady had his best performance as a Piston, scoring 13 points and shooting the ball well in a double OT loss to the Knicks.
On Tuesday, McGrady was non-existent on the court in the Pistons loss to Orlando.
There’s a good explanation for this, apparently. Against the Knicks, McGrady scored all 13 of his points in the second quarter, when the Pistons were running their offense through him. From Vince Ellis of the Free Press:
McGrady’s best moments as a Piston have come when he is running the offense through pick-and-roll situations or isolations — the stuff Wade and James used to reach superstar status.
A prime example was McGrady’s 13-point second quarter in Sunday’s overtime loss to the Knicks.
“That’s just the type of player that I am,” McGrady said before Tuesday night’s game against the Magic. “In order for me to do that consistently, I need to be involved as I was in that game — in that second quarter.”
As we saw against Orlando, McGrady was not that involved in the offense when he was in the game, something he told Ellis he’s not comfortable doing.
McGrady’s made news the last few weeks for proclaiming how healthy he feels, and he’s had in-game flashes that have shown he is, indeed, getting some of his mobility back. A healthy McGrady is a good thing.
But a healthy McGrady probably also fancies himself a starter or at least a player who should get starter’s minutes. By my count, the Pistons have five guys — McGrady, Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon — who reasonably believe they should be the focal point of the offense. Not that any of them are bad players, but I don’t think any of the five are good enough to run your offense through and expect great results. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out. If the team starts winning a little bit with any of the five taking on some type of lead role, that makes it easier. But more likely, if they continue to struggle, there’s a chance we could see season long jockeying between guys who might all feel like they could do things better.