The NBA’s summer vacation is almost over. Most players have put in major work to better themselves physically and mentally. But sometimes, certain players can go to former star players for help and insight that can further the understanding of how to maximize their abilities. Legends such as Hakeem Olajuwon have spent their post-retirement years sharing their knowledge.
It was recently discovered that Jaylen Brown, the Boston Celtics’ budding star wing, had sought out one of the all-time great scorers in the NBA in Tracy McGrady. That got me to thinking about six other players who should call the Hall of Fame inductee, for T-Mac’s career journey is one these players can learn from.
In the 2017-18 season, the “Greek Freak” took a major leap forward as a player, averaging 27 points and 11 rebounds a game. While he’s beginning to harness his limitless potential, Antetokounmpo still has room to grow and skills to develop. While he’s devastating in transition, Giannis lacks that offensive repertoire that can fully unlock his game in a halfcourt set. Tracy McGrady went from an exciting young wing in Toronto to a sublime scorer with the Orlando Magic. A few sessions with T-Mac and Antetokounmpo can become a force in the triple threat position and continue to develop his outside shooting.
Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram
The Lakers’ young core fascinates me, and the way they’re being handled fascinates me even more. I’ll focus on the two wing players, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. Neither player participated in the NBA Summer League, despite obviously needing to improve. Granted, both players have been documented as getting better, for they know that with the addition of The Best Ever, they’ll endure a type of session that’ll include the expectation of winning and the scrutiny that comes with losing.
Kuzma and Ingram haven’t proven to be that much better than players their are, and they could stand to learn from McGrady, who developed a repertoire of offensive moves. Ingram needs more moves off the dribble, and Kuzma needs to be an overall better threat in isolation. McGrady can help both players in both aspects, as well as give them insight on taking on more responsibility at such a young age.
The knock on Andrew Wiggins is that he hasn’t gotten much better since coming into the league four years ago. Most of that feeling comes from the perception that he does not truly care about being the best player he can be and helping the Minnesota Timberwolves turn potential into winning. Wiggins possesses all the athletic gifts, and to me, he appears to give good effort in games. But something is undoubtedly missing that I believe T-Mac can help him find.It has been a somewhat disappointing four years for Andrew Wiggins. Tracy McGrady could help him push through that plateau and harness his potential. (Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)
On the surface, McGrady never appeared too burn with passion for the game, save for the emotional outburst after an amazing play. But his individual progress as a player and breakdown after being unable to advance his teams in the playoffs confirm otherwise. McGrady can push Wiggins and light a fire in him that can translate into the offseason, helping Andrew Wiggins look to expand the ways he can affect games.
Since he was a senior in high school, Harrison Barnes has looked like a pro. What I mean by that is he understood that he had the potential to play and be effective in the NBA. Even when he returned to the University of North Carolina for a sophomore season and people thought this slightly tarnished him as an NBA prospect, he always showed he was better than most of his fellow college contemporaries. Now that he is the best scoring option for the Dallas Mavericks, blessed with a big contact, it’s time for him to take his game to the next level. Upon leaving Toronto, McGrady immediately carried the scoring load in Orlando and proceeded to capture back-to-back scoring titles in 2003 and 2004. The even-keeled McGrady could help Barnes learn to carry the responsibility of being a dynamic scorer without going too far outside of who he is as a player.
Having Paul George on this list may be a little shocking to read, at first. George is nearly 30 years old, a multi-time All-Star and one of the better players in the NBA. He’s even drawn comparisons to McGrady because of his length and effortless explosive athleticism. However, McGrady had three different seasons in the star/superstar portion of his career. In Toronto, he was an emerging wing with the world and basketball at his feet. In Orlando, McGrady became an elite scorer, harnessing his abilities and turning himself into a weapon. But it is in Houston where McGrady developed his floor game. He learned how to pass, to play off the ball and in the pick and roll, which resulted in him being complete offensively.
It is here where PG could learn from McGrady. While still being able to play above the rim, he can maximize his efficiency so it doesn’t take as much energy and shots to produce. Youth grants us a surplus of energy. It is time for George to better preserve his energy and fuse his mind and his body and become the best overall player he can be.
So those were six players who should spend time with Tracy McGrady because the Hall of Famer has a lot to offer them. Leave any others you make think of in the comments, as well as other superstar players who could help some young players with their games. Until next time.
Poemer. 8-time Hug Champion. Pick&Roll Enthusiast. Guardian of Logic and Tact. Apocalypse’s good Brother. Collector of muted souls for Mt. Filtermanjaro.