What is Tracy McGrady's true legacy?
Tracy McGrady is one of the most polarizing players in recent memory in the NBA. His off-court comments about Stephen Curry are laughable at best, and he is remembered as only a scorer who couldn’t get teams past the first round of the playoffs, something he only did once with the Spurs, playing six games in the 2013 playoffs in a largely forgettable performance.
McGrady was a very good NBA player. A seven-time All-Star and two-time scoring champion, he was a good defender, facilitator, and ball-handler. Most of those attributes get forgotten after his scoring. Perhaps the most notable and well-known part of his career was his playoff failures. That, and his 13 points in 33 seconds to beat the Spurs in 2004.
He is one of the better players to never win a ring, and had it not been for his late-season signing with the Spurs in 2013, he could have been the best to never even make the Finals, which is a sad achievement, but impressive nonetheless.
Had Ray Allen missed that shot, McGrady would have a ring. Barely, but he’d still have one. Then what? He wouldn’t be known as a star with no rings, but he wouldn’t have any defining playoff moments under his belt. He’s a top-100 player ever for sure, but he’d be forever off those lists of best players without a ring that sweeps the internet every now and then.
Usually adding a ring boosts a player’s position in all-time lists. 2013 would not. ESPN has him ranked as the 52nd-best player ever, sandwiched between Gary Payton and James Worthy. This seems mostly accurate. It may be a little too ambitious, but does winning a ring really move him up?
Does a champion version of T-Mac really surpass Reggie Miller and Russell Westbrook? If he won it in his prime, yes absolutely it does, but not riding the coattails of Duncan and Parker, playing a total of 31 forgettable minutes in the Silver and Black.