After eight failed attempts, Tracy McGrady is finally going to be a part of a team that’s going to play in the conference semifinals of the NBA playoffs, making the right choice by signing with the San Antonio Spurs, although it’s more than likely he won’t have much to do with any success they find along the way.
His contribution in the first round series, sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers? McGrady got to play five minutes in game 4, finishing with 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 1 foul. After a year in China and being relegated to a 12th player on a great team at best, there is nothing not to be pleased about.
McGrady knows that this isn’t going to erase the disappointing chapters from his career. Reaching the playoffs seven times in the past, six of them as a leading player with the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets. It always ended in tears.
McGrady made the playoffs for the first time in 2000 with the Toronto Raptors, playing alongside Vince Carter. The Raptors were swept by the Knicks 3-0 (best of 5 back then), averaging 16.7 points per game.
A year later he was already playing for the Orlando Magic, but despite averaging 33.8 points in the series against the Bucks, McGrady managed to win only one game, losing 3-1.
2002, and the Magic are in the postseason again. This time it’s the Charlotte Hornets standing in their way, with McGrady averaging 30.8 points en route to another 3-1 defeat.
2003, and it’s a bit more painful this time. The Magic draw out the series against the Detroit Pistons to 7 games. Orlando takes a 3-1 lead with McGrady scoring 43 and 46 in the first couple of games, but they go on to lose the last three, as McGrady finally wins three games in a series, but in the wrong year, just when the format is changed. He averaged 31.7 points in the series, but scored 19 and 21 in two of the final three games.
Two years go by, and McGrady is playing next to the fragile Yao Ming with the Houston Rockets. The Rockets take a stunning 2-0 lead in Dallas to open the series, but lose four of the next five games (win game 6) in another 7 game disappointment, with McGrady averaging 30.7 points per game.
In 2007 it’s again a seven games series, this time with home court advantage against the Utah Jazz. The Rockets win the first two games before another huge collapse, losing the last couple of games, including the clincher at home. McGrady averages 25.3 points per game.
In 2008 McGrady reaches the postseason (as a healthy player) for the final time with the Houston Rockets. These are once again the Utah Jazz, but the Jazz have home court advantage. The Rockets drop the first two games, but win in games 3 and 5. At home they’re destroyed, losing by 22 points despite 40 points by McGrady.
After a little bit of moving around the league, McGrady plays for the Atlanta Hawks in 2011-2012, making the postseason. He’s no longer a starter, but does get 41 minutes in the game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics, who eventually win the series 4-2.