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Tracy McGrady: The NBA’s Overlooked Star

If you haven’t heard by now, Tracy McGrady is finalizing a deal to play with Quingdao in China’s CBA next season. He’ll now join the familiar names of Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson, players who dazzled us early in the last decade, but couldn’t find a home by the end of their careers.

If he doesn’t return to the NBA next year, this is the beginning of what could be a tragic ending to the NBA career of Tracy Lamar McGrady, Jr. McGrady was one of the best players in the NBA – if not the best – not too long ago. Today, we laugh at arguments about who’s better between McGrady and Kobe Bryant, but 10 years ago it was a different story. Ten years ago, McGrady was considered Bryant’s primary rival and equal. Some even thought that he was a better player than Bryant.

If it weren’t for multiple injuries, McGrady could still be on par with some of the future Hall of Fame names we see still playing in the NBA today.

In his prime, McGrady had the potential to be one of the all-time greats. He came up in an era where people were obsessed with finding the heir to Michael Jordan. Tracy McGrady could’ve been that.

He averaged 26.9 points per game from 2000 to 2006, along with 6.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. His 25.0 PER average, as well as his 109 offensive rating was way above average. That’s MVP-level basketball.

His career-high PER was a 30.3 during the 2002-2003 season, which is 15th on the all-time list. That same year, he averaged 32.1 points per game which is 24th on the list of greatest single-season scoring averages.

[RELATED: Who’s Better (Pre-injuries): Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway Or Tracy McGrady?]

McGrady was an electrifying player. Watching him every night was a joy that some will never forget, a 6-8 wing with the handle of a point guard along with the elite ability to score and create with the ball in his hands.

With McGrady, every time out you knew it was going to be a show. You knew there was potential for something special. That’s why it’s such a mystery why he never made it out of the first round of the playoffs.

Who else can score 13 points in 35 seconds, all with that same expressionless look on his face?

McGrady was a leader in forming the new era of the NBA. Without McGrady, guard play wouldn’t be as advanced as it is today. In a league that was largely dominated by bigs before, McGrady shined, and helped open the gates for the current generation of stars.

Whether he returns next year or not, McGrady left his mark on this league with all of the highlight plays he made and spectacular games he played in. Even if he never returns, we’ll always have those moments to remember.

What was your favorite moment from Tracy McGrady?

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