Hall of Fame wing Tracy McGrady was an immaculate player, gifted not just with the prototypical size and athleticism teams look for at his position but ball-handling, shooting, playmaking and defensive abilities that made him one of the premier talents in this NBA.
Considering his recent comments, McGrady's greatest disappointment in his career may very well be that he was unable to win a championship, particularly because how it would have positively impacted his historical standing and reputation. That may have been evident even in his playing career, with The Big Sleep heading to Texas in 2013 to try to win a ring with the San Antonio Spurs as an end-of-bench player.
However, the decisions that McGrady made prior to the 1997 NBA Draft could have had more to do with that outcome than what he did once he was actually there.
“I just knew how hard and how tough Rick Pitino was,” McGrady begins. “Rick Pitino had left and become [the Boston Celtics] coach. And I was like, ‘Ugh, I don't know if I want to play for Rick Pitino.’ Reason being because my workout… that was probably my hardest pre-draft workout ever…”
“I wouldn’t mind playing for Boston, but I didn’t want to play for Rick Pitino at that time because he was just too tough, man. It was just finding a way to, I guess, hurt myself in them not drafting me [by] not talking… I did fine in my interviews with everybody else. But Boston? Not so much.”
The Celtics ended up drafting Ron Mercer, a talented scorer that would play just two seasons in Boston before being traded to the Denver Nuggets. Meanwhile, players like Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce would never get to experience playing alongside McGrady, which could have led to them winning a championship.
With that said, if T-Mac did win a ring in his prime, there's no question that he would be rated higher by fans.