Re: #64 NBA Player Of All-Time According to InsideHoops
I wasn't going to, but because people are voting Pete Maravich and Pau Gasol over Tracy McGrady, I feel compelled to do make a case for T-Mac. I think people forget that it was a big debate back in the day over who was better between him and Kobe (before LeBron came along). Obviously, Kobe won that debate, but I think T-Mac had more potential. He is probably the most naturally gifted player I've ever seen, not only athletically, but just in terms of pure basketball ability. The game came so easy to him I think Jeff Van Gundy once said he felt like he didn't have to work on his game, although obviously he should have. Remember, T-Mac was born with mild scoliosis, so he was going to be injury prone no matter what. Although T-Mac's work ethic hurt him, he truly had abysmal luck, perhaps the worst luck of any superstar ever. His best years were wasted on a laughably bad Magic team. People talk about the teams Kobe LBJ and Wade carried at various times, but T-Mac's Magic teams were worse than any of the teams those guys had. If only Grant Hill and Yao Ming and T-Mac could have been healthy together more often. T-Mac's lack of playoff success needs to be put into context. He usually preformed very well in the playoffs, contrary to the popular mythos. He was almost always on the worse team in the playoff matchups he found himself in, and he and his best teammates were frequently less than 100%.
T-Mac's prime years (2001-2005) *bolded=Led NBA
2001: 27/8/5/2/2 on 46/36/73. Playoffs: 4 games, 34/7/8/2/1 on 42/20/82
2002: 26/8/5/2/1 on 45/36/75. Playoffs: 4 games, 31/6/6/1/2 on 46/31/74.
2003 (peak): 32/7/6/2/1 on 46/39/79. Playoffs: 7 games ,32/7/5/2/1 on 45/34/77.
2004: 28/6/6/1/1 on 42/34/80.
2005: 26/6/6/2/1 on 43/33/77. Playoffs: 7 games, 31/7/7/2/1 on 46/37/82.
Career regular season: 33 MPG, 20/6/4/1/1 on 44/34/75.
Career playoffs: 39 MPG, 25/6/6/1/1 on 43/30/76
2001 Most Improved Player
2x All-NBA (1st)
3x All-NBA (2nd)
2x All-NBA (3rd)
6 top 10 finishes in MVP voting (4th in 2002 and 2003)
2x NBA scoring champion
14th All-Time in Playoffs PPG
The guy could do pretty much everything, he was an incredible player who could have been even better, as scary as it is to imagine. It's a shame he and Yao could never both stay healthy and put together a great playoff run, it would have been really fun to watch.