Tracy McGrady Headlines 2017 Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees

Tonight, Tracy McGrady will join Bill Self, Rebecca Lobo, Robert Huges and Muffet McGraw as the 2017 Naismith Hall of Fame Inductees. Like the others in his class, McGrady has a highly decorated career. He was a 7 time NBA all-star, 2 time NBA scoring champion and 2 time NBA first-team selection. But unlike many who are in the Hall, McGrady is looked at by some as a questionable inductee.

Tracy McGrady’s legacy in the NBA will always be a unique one. One of the most entertaining and dominant players of the late 90s-early 2000s, McGrady often gets left out of conversations including Kobe, Duncan and Garnett. The reason? It’s simple: rings. While Kobe, Duncan and KG have a collective 11 NBA titles, McGrady never saw his way out of the first round.

Championships are the go-to in every sports argument. It’s what the MJ faithful love to use when arguing Kobe vs Jordan or Lebron vs MJ. It’s true, the ability to win the ultimate prize adds an extra layer of greatness to a player’s legacy. But don’t for one second mistake one’s “inability to win” as a sign that one does not belong among the elite.

Tracy McGrady is one of the best “what if” players. What if he stayed in Toronto. What if he never got injured. How great could his career have been? How would McGrady be perceived if he won? McGrady’s induction into the Hall of Fame isn’t a time to say what if, it’s a time to remember what he did.

In the 2003-04 & 2004-05 seasons, McGrady led the league in scoring. Ahead of Kobe. Ahead of Duncan, Garnett, Shaq, Vince, Dirk. He averaged 32 and 28 points per game, respectively. He was then was shipped to Houston where he continued to average 24 points per game for each of the next three seasons. His most memorable Rockets moment came on December 9th, 2004. 13 points in 33 seconds. The clip is a basketball junkie’s dream. But despite heroic efforts like that, McGrady will still never be considered a winner.

The world we live in is all about rings. It’s why Kevin Durant went to Golden State. It’s why the state of the NBA is all about super teams. Everyone is chasing that illustrious ring. T-Mac never got that ring, he never came close. And it will forever be held against him. Tonight though, don’t think of McGrady as what could have been. Look back and remember what he was. Because ring or not, Tracy McGrady was electrifying, and he was special.

Other Inductees

Bill Self

At the age of 54, Bill Self has achieved a lot in the college basketball world. He’s a 2 time National Coach of the Year and 5 time Big-12 Coach of the Year. His Kansas team’s have reached the Final Four twice, winning it all in 2008. Most notably however, Self has led Kansas to 13 straight Big-12 Regular Season Championships. Self has a lifetime record of 613-193. He is the 9th fastest coach to eclipse 600 wins.

Rebecca Lobo

While Rebecca Lobo’s WNBA career may have been cut short, she has a very decorated basketball career. She helped lead UCONN to a an undefeated season and National Championship in 1995. That year, she won the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player, Naismith College Player of the Year and AP Player of the Year. Lobo won a Gold Medal in 1996 and was a WNBA all-star in 1999. After retiring from the WNBA, Lobo became the first woman’s analyst for women’s college and WNBA basketball.

Robert Hughes

Hughes is the all-time winningest high school basketball coach in the U.S. He spent 47 years at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Fort Worth, Texas. During his time on the sideline, Hughes compiled 1,333 victories. He won 35 district championships and 5 Texas state championships. in 2003, Hughes was National High School Coach of the Year.

Muffet McGraw

A Hoop Group alum, Muffet McGraw has achieved a lot as the head coach at Notre Dame. She has won the Naismith Coach of the Year (2001), USBWA Coach of the Year (2001, 2014) and the AP Coach of the Year (2013, 2014) award. She led Notre Dame to a National Championship in 2001 and has compiled a .771 winning percentage coaching for the Irish, with a career record of 765-227. McGraw has led the Irish to seven Final Fours, and has won the conference Coach of the Year award and equal amount of times.

Chris Paul to Houston: What it means in the West

Chris Paul certainly gives Houston a new look, but are they contenders?

In an article published by Zach Lowe on two weeks ago, Rockets GM Daryl Morey told Lowe “We have something up our sleeve.”  He came through on that promise today by reportedly agreeing to trade seven players and a first round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Chris Paul.  In an era dominated by super teams, Morey knows that in order to have any chance of topping the Warriors, the Rockets need multiple stars.  Chris Paul gives Houston their second star, but how much will he actually help them?

The Harden-Paul fit is somewhat awkward.  They’re both dominant pick and roll ball handlers who create great shots for themselves and their teammates. With only one basketball, does CP3 become a glorified version of Patrick Beverly on offense, spotting up on the perimeter while Harden runs pick and roll?  Defensively, Paul would be an upgrade over almost every point guard in the league, but Beverly was the other guard on first team all NBA defense this year.  So if the trade barely moves the needle for Houston offensively, and is essentially a wash defensively, how does it help them?

The Cavs, Thunder, and Rockets all suffered from the same problem this postseason.  Their teams hung tough when LeBron, Westbrook, and Harden played, but their opponents seemed to go on a 12-0 run if their coaches took them out for even a few minutes.  It created a catch-22: they could either not rest the stars and risk fatigue (as we saw LeBron tire out during 4th quarters in the Finals), or rest them and risk falling behind by large margins (as we saw happen to the Thunder).

Houston’s offense scored 113.6 points per hundred possessions with Harden on the floor this year, which is 0.4 points better than the Warriors’ greatest offense of all time.  When he sat, that number dipped to 106.6 – almost exactly league average.  This is where the addition of CP3 will be key.  If Houston coach Mike D’Antoni staggers their minutes so that either Harden or Paul is always on the floor, they will never have to play with an average offensive unit.  They can avoid them problem that plagued them, the Thunder, and the Cavs.

Despite the criticism, Mike D’Antoni says his offense works better with two point guards

Will it be enough to beat the Warriors?  Almost certainly not, barring injury.  But there is another way that this trade could help Houston get over the top.  Houston is now just one star away from boasting its own “Big 3”.  With stars always looking to play with each other, Houston just joined San Antonio as the only other team in the West that can claim they are one player away from beating the Warriors.  Maybe Morey has something else up his sleeve.