Wednesday, December 07, 2011 Smith: Atlanta Hawks Agree To One-Year Deal With Tracy McGrady

Stephen A. Smith reports that the Atlanta Hawks have agreed to a one-year deal with Tracy McGrady for, natch, the veteran's minimum. McGrady's physical decline and his accompanying, increasingly impotent on-court performance makes me feel sad and old. And now he's a Hawk.

Let's go down the Hawks' free agent checklist...

Cheap? Yes.

Old? 32 years worth, not counting the history of back and knee problems.

A recognizable name? Yes, though signing McGrady represents something of a breakthrough for the Hawks as he's recognizable for being a once great basketball player rather than going to high school or college in Atlanta or being the nephew of the city's greatest professional basketball player.

Little reason for optimism evident in his recent performance record? Yes. McGrady had something of a bounce-back season, more due to how horrific his 2009-10 season was than anything special he achieved in 2010-11.

Tracy McGrady scored at a lower rate than Marvin Williams last season. McGrady set a career low in usage rate and a career high in turnover rate. He's no sort of replacement for Jamal Crawford and I say that as one who thinks Jamal Crawford shouldn't be replaced in a straight like-for-like (but cheaper) exchange. Maybe McGrady is a better* option at the 2 than Damien Wilkins when Larry Drew wants to go big and McGrady will certainly out-rebound Crawford (and probably Joe Johnson, too), but any positive contributions from McGrady will constitute more of a feel good story than reasonable expectations, like playing a little better than Damien Wilkins, being met.

*Optimism alert: The Pistons were measurably less bad defensively with McGrady on the court last season and he made box score defensive plays at something approaching his career rate.


SG said...

cant wait to mcgrady shut u guys down. you all compare him to 9th 10th roster players. once best in the game still knows the game way better than anybody on hawks team. did great job in det runin pg. he wasnt completely healthy but he is now so expect him to score more. i predict he will be a starter and gives 30mins 16pts 5reb 6asist.

Bronnt said...

And, as I observed elsewhere, McGrady was pretty good defensive player at his best, very unlike Jamal Crawford. He's not the shooter that Crawford is/was, but his career assist rate is higher than Joe Johnson's, and much higher than Crawford's from his time in Atlanta. Heck, it was almost dead even with JJ's last year while being a much LOWER usage player.

As an acquisition for the veteran minimum, it's possible the upside will greatly outweigh the downside.

I don't know what this feeling is when I think of a potential second unit of Hinrich/Brewer/McGrady/(Body)/Pachulia, but it might just be giddiness.

Bret LaGree said...

Bronn --

Fair points. The more I think about this, the better I feel. McGrady is of the age where Larry Drew figures to let him play and McGrady is still capable, when healthy, of playing to his strengths. Though I still think the Hawks need to acquire one or more shooters if they want to take advantage of McGrady's passing skills. Maybe he'll be a boon for Pachulia and Keith Benson.