Tracy McGrady: Comebacks and Breakdowns

February 22, 2010

by Jack Maidment

Tracy McGrady scored 26 points in his New York Knicks debut, once again bating people into discussing not only his legacy but also whether or not he is still able to contribute or even star in the NBA.

Was his outstanding performance a false dawn or does it signal the re-emergence of one of the best scorers of the last 10 years?

When boiled down to its absolute essence, the issue really revolves around one thing: does McGrady have the legs?

The two-time former NBA scoring champion has missed more than half of his team’s games in the past two seasons, but receiving the cold shoulder from the Houston Rockets, the franchise who once called McGrady its favourite son, could potentially have saved his career.

Simply, the Rockets had had enough.

Enough of the comebacks and the subsequent breakdowns.

Enough of the ‘next year’ longing.

The deal that sent McGrady to New York allowed the Rockets to gain one of the League’s least appreciated scorers in Kevin Martin.

Young and already potent, Martin is well positioned to be the second or third option on a future Championship team.

He can score the ball and Houston will build around him as one of their main offensive punches.

The Rockets have moved an irritation in McGrady and gained a future star in Martin, who will undoubtedly flourish in a new team where he doesn’t have to fight Tyreke Evans for the ball.

As for McGrady he now finds himself in a market long starved of a legitimate star.

The Knicks have been woeful for so long that any sort of player who used to burn bright now playing in the orange and white will have the support of the whole of New York.

If he fails then, he becomes a role player on an already bad team. His already diminished star power will wane still further but he will be a valuable piece for the Knicks moving forward.

If he succeeds, he catapults himself back into the games’ elite and into a position where teams’ will actively seek his services and throw major money his way.

One team who won’t be doing this is Houston.

They know all about McGrady and his broken body.

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Fountain of Youth only way the Dallas Mavericks make The Finals in 2010.

February 20, 2010

by Jack Maidment

There are stories in a lot of papers the past few days about scientists who have apparently found out which genes, or something, make us age.

They think that if they can remove this gene or repair it or, I don’t know, remove it maybe, they can stop people ageing.

Does this mean that in the near future we won’t get old?

Or maybe that we will be able to be made younger?

I say yes.

Definitely.

Why am I so sure?

Because Mark Cuban has spent a hell of a lot of money in the past 3 years putting together a team full of players that are at least 2 years past their prime and a man who commits to that much money on players that old must know something, right?

I know I’m right.

There has to be something he knows that we don’t.

Just you wait.

Come round one of the playoffs Jason Kidd will start maxing out triple-doubles every game.

Shawn Marion will become The Matrix once again, rather than just a guy who used to be a big deal and now, well isn’t.

Maybe, just maybe, Eric Dampier will deliver on his disgusting contract.

Gene therapy is the answer yes indeed.

Failing that, Caron Butler will find an extra 6 points a game and take some of the burden off of Dirk Nowitzki who has physically carried The Elder Statesmen that he calls team mates for the past 2 years.

Or the Dallas Mavericks will hit the playoffs, win in round one, and maybe even the conference semi before falling short at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dirk can only do so much.

Unless the Mavs actually find the Fountain of Youth.

There is hope.

Or at least Mark Cuban thinks so.


Major Linkage: What’s Good in NBA Blogs this Week

February 20, 2010

3 Putt Territory does a good job of looking at the Jamison trade, as does Paints in the Point.

Winners and losers from the trade deadline at Sports on the Brain.

And Mr Bill Simmons is gooooood. As usual. He ranks his top 40 trade assets in the NBA. No surprises for who is number 1. but surprises there are.

Also, check out Raptors Republis Morning Coffee. Always a great collection of stuff collated from all over the web.

The Daily Thunder have a nice take on the merits of Kevin Durant.

Hot Hot Hoops have quite the Michael Beasley fever.

Over at The Two Man Game the do a nice job of breaking down the Josh Howard situation. Rumours of excessive partying? You betcha.

Knicker Blogger outlines where New York are heading in the next few months.

Finally, Portland Roundball Society is wondering aloud about the health of Brandon Roy.


Jamison move makes LeBron’s Cavs Big. And Favourites.

February 20, 2010

Jamison adds size and scoring

by Jack Maidment

The past three years in the NBA have taught us one thing more than any other: the cold war didn’t die, it just moved.

The arms race that characterised the battle for supremacy between the USA and the Soviet Union has re-emerged only this team its basketball teams that are stockpiling weapons.

Unless you’re poor that is.

In which case you are probably one of teams that is allowing this whole process of one-up-man-ship to happen.

For if there were no teams looking to shed salary so that they can try and fail to sign LeBron James there would be no opportunity for the ‘haves’ to pillage the ‘have-nots’.

Case in point, Antawn Jamison to Cleveland on deadline day.

A continually combusting Washington Wizards pulled the trigger on a trade in which they will receive next to nothing with one of the pieces supposedly heading to the capital, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, undoubtedly returning to the Cavs once the mandatory 30 day period has elapsed.

(Ironically, the Wiz have traded the two of their big three that didn’t cause them any problems. Gilbert Arenas, AKA the man no-one wants to play with remains. The Wiz: The Next Knicks. Have you seen his contract?)

So the Cavs gain a former All-Star and one of the most underrated scorers in the League for a bag of chips.

Scoring and versatility at the 4 was something that the Cavs were lacking and Jamison certainly fills the hole.

The trade leaves Cleevland with a wealth of front court options, with the potential to field LeBron at point-forward, Jamison at scoring guard and a front 3 of Big Z, Shauille O’Neal and Anderson Varejao.

The Lakers are no longer the biggest team in the League.

If the two meet in the Finals there will never have been two bigger teams physically squaring off in the history of the game.

So where does this move for Jamison (and Sebastian Telfair who was also thrown in) put the Cavaliers?

It was the last throw of the dice for Danny Ferry, Cavs GM, who has done everything possible to try and surround LeBron James with the best team possible.

He sure isn’t making LeBron’s decision in the upcoming off season any easier.

The Cavs are certainly a lot bigger now and much more dangerous in a half court set with Jamison able to stretch the floor.

Defensively they are now more of handful with the largest interior of any team in the League.

They have size, bulk, shot blocking, physicality and athleticism.

Will they win the East?

Yes.

Will they win the Finals?

It is on that question that the future of the League could depend.

Win and LeBron almost certainly stays for the next 5 years.

Lose, again, and he will have all the reasons he needs to go after a fresh start.

I say he wins.

And he stays.