Feb 19, 2010, 2:02 PM EDT
Oh, if Tracy McGrady could only still play as good a game as he can talk. Because when he met with the New York media for the first time today as a member of the Knicks, he was saying all the right things.
“This is not the same Tracy from last season when I was hobbling on one leg. That’s not going to be me. ”
“I know these guys are seven games out of the playoffs, but this is the team I really wanted to come to.”
[If the Knicks can sign LeBron James Dwyane Wade] “I’d be a damn fool not to want to stay here . . . Money is not an issue [for me].”
That sounds great, but unless McGrady came to New York with a DeLorean and a flux capacitor that can go get the McGrady from 2005 or earlier, the words may be hollow. Injuries have taken their toll, but his field goal percentage has not been above 43 percent since 2004. When he’s taken a lot of threes he’s never made a lot. He has become a high-volume shooter — he’ll get you 24 points but he’ll need 21 shots to do it.
This much we know — McGrady will get the chance to back up those words. Coach Mike D’Antoni says he’s going to play from day one (“we’ve only got 29 [games] left”). Maybe McGrady has changed, maybe he is willing to accept a role as not being the primary scorer on a team. Maybe he has become the veteran willing to do the right things to win a ring (although we won’t find that out with the Knicks for a while).
Maybe. But we’ll need more than words to buy in. We’ll need actions.