0 for 7.
For all of Tracy Mcgrady’s achievements, this is the one figure that might inevitably define his legacy.
The man has been in the play-offs seven times and for all his efforts, he has never gone past the first round. It’s an unsettling fact and surprising if you consider the caliber of player Mcgrady is.
That’s not to say that he hasn’t come close to advancing. Out of the seven first round series’ that he’s played in, three have been decided in Game 7’s. It happened against Detroit back in 2003 when T-Mac was with Orlando, and twice since he moved to Houston – in 2006 against Dallas and last year against Utah.
It’s beyond comprehension to think that somebody like Mcgrady would have lost three Game 7’s – let alone seven first round series’ – when everybody knows that these are the kind of games that define superstars and cement their legacies as one of the greats of this game. Hey, Lebron James did it in his first year in the play-offs. So did Dwyane Wade. T-Mac’s failures only magnify the long-held belief that he’s not superstar-material.
Some might argue that it’s unfair to put the onus on T-Mac’s failures all to himself; after all, most of those teams were better than his when they met in the play-offs. But isn’t it fair to say that the 2006 Cavs were no better than Mcgrady’s Rockets?
Besides, that shouldn’t be an excuse. Great players don’t use the `I-tried-my-best-but-they-were-a-better-team card’. Great players say “get the hell out of my way because I’m winning this game”.
Sadly, T-Mac doesn’t have the latter mentality. Too often he has differed to his teammates in key stretches of the game. You can look no further than Games 1 and 2 of their series against the Jazz this year. Those were two winnable games for Houston. In both games, Mcgrady scored a grand total of one point in the fourth quarter of both games. You think Lebron, Kobe, or D-Wade
would have let that happen?
Tracy Mcgrady is an all-world basketball talent. His skill set is unmatched by all but a few. But while he does have all the talent in the world, he lacks an important trait that all other great players have: a bona fide killer instinct.
Even if he has shown flashes of brilliance, his biggest problem has been consistency. There are some nights where he scores 13 points in 30 seconds, but on the other nights, he literally becomes an offensive and defensive afterthought.
That’s the most important thing Mcgrady needs to develop a closer’s mentality; a killer instinct that says `I’m not losing this game’. All the greats have it and if he wants to be considered as one such, then he must learn to have it too.
But until he learns to have that mentality, his lasting mark as a player will invariably be defined as someone whose immense talents were devalued by a lack of results.
That’s the truth and unless he gets this immense gorilla of his back, that’s all we’ll remember him for.
It’s unfortunate considering T-Mac’s legacy deserves a happier ending.