New York Post writer and Stephon Marbury aficionado Marc Berman penned an article titled “T-Mac or bust” in Sunday’s paper.
If the Knicks don’t get McGrady, the Jazz can start making reservations in May for a hotel in Secaucus for the NBA Draft Lottery.
Let’s be real. The current Knicks, 10 games under .500, aren’t making the playoffs without a big upgrade. How cool would it be if the Jazz, which own the Knicks’ first-round pick, had a sense of humor and put assistant coach Scott Layden on the Secaucus dais — a familiar spot during his woeful Knicks presidential term.
Now this isn’t an original idea by Berman; the thought of the Knicks acquiring McGrady has been floating around for some bit. I guess the better question is whether or not McGrady will help the Knicks. Based on his location and production, you can break down McGrady’s career into three stages: the teenager in Toronto, the centerpiece in Orlando, and the sidekick in Houston.
TEAM PTS TS% 3P% AST TO TOR 16.1 51% 28% 3.6 2.3 ORL 25.7 54% 36% 4.7 2.4 HOU 22.3 51% 32% 5.5 2.5
McGrady’s scoring in Orlando was pretty good, as he averaged 25.7 pts/36 with a decent TS% of 54%. However outside of those years, T-Mac has been a high volume/low percentage scorer. There’s a clear downward trend in his shooting efficiency since 2003, and in the last 5 years McGrady has had a TS% over 50% only once, an awful rate for someone that shoots so often. On the other hand his assists have risen, so perhaps he’s been able to help the offense a little more over the years by distributing better.
If the Knicks did swing a deal with Houston, it begs the question “whose minutes would T-Mac take?” If you look at it from a positional standpoint (SG/SF), then either Danilo Gallinari or Wilson Chandler would see a reduction in playing time. Gallo (TS% 58.6%) is shooting extremely well and even Wilson Chandler (52.5%) is a more efficient scorer than McGrady. In this situation the Knicks would be downgrading their production.
If you envision D’Antoni as someone who blurs the line with positions, then it’s possible for McGrady to supplant point guard Chris Duhon in the rotation. New York could go guard-less with McGrady, Chandler, Jeffries, Gallinari, and Lee. On defense the Knicks might have to use Jeffries on the opposing point guard, zone up, or even insert Nate Robinson in the lineup, now that it appears Nate’s willing to go over screens. On offense as long as McGrady didn’t dominate the action, he’d be an improvement over the anemic Duhon (TS% 47.4, 8.6 pts/36). Consequently such a tall lineup would give D’Antoni a lot of flexibility and might be problematic for some opponents.
In the right situation, McGrady could be an upgrade to the offense, perhaps a low usage situation could restore his efficiency to the NBA’s average. However the cost could be too high. Berman mentioned in his column that the Rockets are interested in something more than just swapping cap relief. For New York to give up a young player such as Hill or Douglas doesn’t make much sense for a team whose goal is the summer of 2010 (not the spring). Additionally the possibility that D’Antoni uses McGrady instead of anyone other than Duhon and the unlikelihood that T-Mac becomes more efficient (especially after another injury) makes it a less palatable deal for the Knicks.
The Knicks not might make the playoffs, but bringing in McGrady may not improve their chances all that much. T-Mac would be an upgrade over Duhon, but that speaks more about Duhon’s poor play. Point guard is clearly the team’s weakest link, and maybe they’d be better off swinging a small deal or sending Duhon to the bench in lieu of a Robinson/Douglas combo.