When news hit the NBA that Yao Ming would be out for the rest of the season, a few things immediately happened.
First, all the upper powers in NBA and the corporate sponsors were devastated because they just lost one of the most marketed players in the world.
Second, all the teams around the league (especially Western Conference teams) looked at their schedule to see when they play the Rockets.
Lastly, the Rockets looked at their roster and saw the center position being held down now by 79-year-old Dikembe Mutombo. I’m just guessing the age but I’m close.
Now all that leads me to Tracy McGrady and how all this affects him.
T-Mac has shown in the past that he can take a not very talented team to the playoffs and lose in the first round. He’s 0-6 there. But this is a tougher and more daunting task. He plays in the toughest conference. His team has won 13 games in a row and still sits at the seventh seed.
But I’m going to go the opposite direction everybody else has taken when talking about the Rockets. I say they do make the playoffs and this will be the most career-defining season for McGrady.
There will be a team in the Western Conference that gets 50-plus abd won’t make the playoffs, regardless of the Yao injury. The typical thing would be just saying the Rockets will be that team because there is no possible way they can keep winning consistently without Yao. And people would say the Rockets can use that same excuse if they falter. But I see T-Mac taking this opportunity to silence all the critics and show them that he’s more than just a big stat stuffer with no superstar substance.
Think about it. He’s got some role players that quite frankly understand their role. A coach that has the handcuffs off the offense. He’s matured as a player and stats are not more important than getting this team (without Yao) into playoffs and past the first round. Granted, his health is a big factor also.
All-Stars are made in regular seasons. Superstars and legacies are made in the playoffs. Legends wins championships.
If he does the first two out of the three above then when you have a T-Mac attack, make sure you super-size it because what he did would be a super-size task.