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.