Throw in the towel or pass the towel?

29 Oct

by Darius Barnes

Tracy McGrady’s Pistons’ debut was a scoreless one, yet it wasn’t a bust. He was a defensive factor, making two steals, and also contributed three assists. McGrady said he’s in much better shape now than he was last season, Mlive.com reports. “It’s like night and day, really,” McGrady said. “I was still recovering from it. Back-to-backs were pretty tough for me. I was a lot heavier, my body wasn’t in shape. There’s no question that I am a lot better now than I was back then. A lot better.”

McGrady’s career has been derailed by injuries, most notably microfracture knee surgery. The Pistons are hopeful that McGrady will return to health and resurrect his career. McGrady will play with the Pistons, but he’ll likely come off the bench. His days as a superstar are over, but McGrady will be worth a late-round flier in deep leagues. As all tenured NBA players, the consistent play of superstar level will decrease at some point. It’s up to the players to decide if they want to go out on top or be content with taking a back seat and playing a lesser role than they have their entire career. We’ve recently seen this with Allen Iverson over the past few years still thinking that he could play on a high level. Moving from team to team believing that he still deserves a starting position and be a factor in a team’s success. But does he really think he can go out night in and night out and put up numbers he did ten years ago? No doubt he still has game but to think he can produce the same way he did ten years ago is not possible. There are younger players who may not have the talent level of AI, but it takes a lot more than just talent to be a productive player in the league.

As for now, McGrady seems content with the role of coming off the bench with limited playing time. But when the game is on the line or when the season isn’t going the way they predicted, what star player wouldn’t want to step up and prove that he can still play and help the team win. We all had high expectations for McGrady, but as injuries and failed attempts to advance in the playoffs stacked up, he never got over the hump. We can still say that an injury riddled career isn’t the end though. Grant Hill has proven that. As we have seen a resurgence in his game and some pretty impressive play from him over the past few seasons.

The 2010 season is just getting started and McGrady’s performance is no indication of how his season will end, but if he doesn’t have a decent season should he think about throwing in the towel? I wouldn’t say just yet, he’s still young but a chance for an NBA title is nearing an end unless he pulls a Karl Malone. As many star players past their prime in the NBA they have to accept that their level of play isn’t going to be top-notch and a bench role is inevitable.

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