Houston Rockets: Why Tracy McGrady deserves Hall of Fame

Feb 12, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Canada player Tracy McGrady (left) dribbles the ball against USA player Chauncey Billups (right) during the All-Star celebrity basketball game at Ricoh Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 12, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Canada player Tracy McGrady (left) dribbles the ball against USA player Chauncey Billups (right) during the All-Star celebrity basketball game at Ricoh Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports /

In 2016-17, Tracy McGrady will be eligible to be selected as a candidate for induction to the NBA Naismith Hall-of-Fame.

Tracy McGrady spent the prime of his career in Houston primarily as the Rockets franchise star. With his teammate Yao Ming set to be inducted this weekend into the Naismith NBA Hall of Fame is McGrady’s inclusion a forgone conclusion?

This coming weekend marks the induction of the class of 2016 to the Naismith NBA Hall-of-Fame. This year’s inductees include legends Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, and  Yao Ming, who not only transcended the game on the court but changed the culture.

As their legacies will continue to live forever in the halls of Springfield, Massachusetts. The debate has already started for the next group of Hall-of-Famers. Among the players now eligible for the class of 2017 is Houston Rockets legend, Tracy McGrady.

Since announcing his retirement four years ago, McGrady’s call to the hall has become one of the hottest debates. He never won a championship and spent the last minutes of his career buried at the end of the Spurs bench. However, McGrady’s Hall-of-Fame chances are better than many have predicted.

T-Mac the Scoring Champ:

When speaking of the stars of the new millennium, it’s commonplace for Tracy McGrady to be mentioned among the top talents. From 2000-2008, McGrady showcased his lethal offensive and defensive skills that turned him from a high school prep into one of the best players of his generation.

While leading the league in scoring, it was a legitimate debate over who was the better player. Tracy McGrady or Kobe Bryant?

The Rockets McGrady Era:

Despite rising to NBA stardom with the Orlando Magic McGrady’s career would reach Hall-of-Fame status as a member of the Houston Rockets.

Twelve years ago the Rockets made a blockbuster trade acquiring the two-time scoring champ from the Magic. Teaming McGrady alongside the 7’6 center Yao Ming made them one of the most lethal duos in the league.

Although some fans consider the McGrady era a disappointment, it’s mostly due to the Rockets playoff failures, and his untimely injuries. Yet, in retrospect of T-Mac’s 5-year Rockets tenure there is no denying his star production or the heart and soul he consistently gave to the team and city.

During his time in Houston, McGrady led the Rockets to four 50 plus regular seasons wins. As a result that represents the  most 50 win seasons  in the post-Hakeem Olajuwon era, which ended in 2001. Furthermore in 4 of his 5 seasons he continued his streak of averaging no less than 21 points per game. Including his time with the Magic, T-Mac accomplished that feat in 8 consecutive seasons.

Only Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant have higher points per game averages than McGrady from 2001-2008. T-Mac’s 22.7 points per game is the third-highest average in Rockets history.

Not only was McGrady Houston’s primary scorer, but he often was tasked as the primary shot creator for his teammates. T-Mac’s 5.6 assists per game average ranks sixth all time in Rockets history.  Although his rebounding numbers drop off a little in Houston, McGrady was a solid rebounder at 5.5 per game.

T-Mac versus the modern day star:

Comparing these numbers to the modern day star offers few talents who average 22.7 points, 5.6 assists and 5.5 rebounds.  A look at shooting guards/small forwards considered to be either the primary or secondary star of their teams offers further reason to jump on the T-Mac band wagon for induction to the hall.

Jimmy Butler 2015-16 average was  20.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists

Klay Thompson 2015-16 average was 22.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists

DeMar DeRozan 2015-16 average was 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists

Kawhi Leonard 2015-16 average was 21.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists

Paul George 2015-16 average was 23.1. points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists

Furthermore if you look at McGrady’s best season of his career or his best Rockets’ season, his numbers are superior to the stars listed above:

McGrady best season (Magic): average was 32.1. points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists

McGrady best Rockets season (2003-04): 28.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists

Playoff Prowess:

If his regular season numbers were not enough to solidify McGrady’s greatness in Houston, then maybe his postseason stats will. It’s heartbreaking that he could never get out of the first round, yet his playoffs stats are especially remarkable.

He did everything possible to win, but McGrady never had enough talent to help him advance. Prior to 2012, he once ranked in the top 10 in playoffs history, averaging 27.3 points per game.

In his first playoff series with the Rockets, T-Mac was nothing short of phenomenal. He averaged an astonishing 30.7 points, 6.7 assists, and 7.4 rebounds per game in a losing effort against the Dallas Mavericks. Even as the Utah Jazz eliminated the Rockets in 2007 and 2008, McGrady’s play was still sensational averaging 26.1 points, 7.0 assist, and 7.1 rebounds.

Other Standout T-Mac Memories:

Sure the lack of playoff success and injuries plagued Tracy McGrady, but that shouldn’t be what the Hall of Fame nomination panel focus on. If the above stats don’t whet the panel’s appetite surely they will recall one of many of T-Mac’s historical NBA moments.

In a classic mid season dual Tracy McGrady and Dirk Nowitzki  combined for 101 points.

Leading his Rockets to the then second-longest winning streak in NBA history, with 22 games in a row.

While most NBA fans cite Vince Carter as the best dunker in history, many forget if not for Vince’s dominance McGrady may well have won that dunk competition.

And speaking of All-Star Dunks, McGrady had arguably the best dunk in the actual Sunday All-Star game. In fact in a video ranking the top10 dunks in the All-Star Game McGrady’s dunks rank third and fifth with Vince Carter ranking first copying McGrady’s dunk!

Of all McGrady’s career highlights the most notable is the heroic come back victory he spearheaded all by himself against the San Antonio Spurs. McGrady fans simply refer to it as 13 in 33 (meaning he scored 13 points in 33 seconds) seconds against the .

If these moments don’t resonate consider this list of accomplishments:

  • 12 time weekly award winner
  • 4 time monthly award winner
  • Finished in the top 8 of MVP award shares 6 times
  • First team All NBA 2 times
  • Second team All NBA 3 times
  • Third team All NBA 2 times
  • Finished in top 10 field goals, 6 times
  • Top 5 three point field goals, 2 times
  • 4 time top 9 free throws made
  • Finished in top 8 points six times
  • Finished in top 10 of point per game 6 times
  • First overall  in points per game, 2 times
  • Top 3 in Player Efficiency Rating, 4 times (first – 1 time)
  • 29th overall in Player Efficiency Rating in Career
  • 3 times in top 10 of Win Percentage
  • 6 times in top 10 of Value Over Replacement Player

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For 16-years this seven-time all-star gave his all on the court, and judging his career based off of injuries and playoffs success is unfair. Given his list of impressive accomplishments it’s logical to assume he’ll be joining his teammate Yao Ming and other Rockets greats in Springfield one day.