Glad to be a Spur. It will be an honor to play for this great organization and the amazing city of San Antonio. — Newest Spur Tracy McGrady (via Facebook)
The biggest news in San Antonio isn't the San Antonio Spurs' struggles on offense without Tony Parker. In fact, the big news on Tuesday may have been the cure for that problem. The team has agreed to terms with Tracy McGrady, adding a ball handler, shooter, and scorer to the team that was desperately needed.
When Parker was out of action during this past stretch, the San Antonio offense struggling was an understatement. With the exception of the most recent game against the Golden State Warriors, the Spurs have not been able to crack 100 points in those games. The 33-year old McGrady brings a different element to this Spurs team, regardless of his 5.3ppg in 16mpg with the Atlanta Hawks last season.
The Hawks team T-Mac was a part of relied mostly on individual scoring and not much ball movement. The Spurs are the polar opposite of that. San Antonio relies on ball movement and getting the best possible shot available, a system that rarely relies on players going one on one for the majority of a game.
While many may feel uneasy with McGrady's postseason win-loss record, McGrady was the player shouldering the burden of the entire offense during the majority of his career. His superstar partner, Yao Ming, was also very injury prone and didn't provide much help to help T-Mac get over his postseason woes. This is the opposite of what we'll be seeing during his time in San Antonio. McGrady will likely come off the bench for the San Antonio Spurs and fill in the void left by the waiving of forward Stephen Jackson. The Spurs have enough young pieces to also replace McGrady on the floor if he's not being productive. McGrady will likely be the second option in the second unit and the fourth option if he's there with the Spurs' Big 3 of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili.
This is probably the most exciting aspect of joining the team for McGrady as he let his feelings be known on Twitter about his new team.
"Whatever happens, I'm just glad to be a part of this environment," McGrady said via text. "[It's] something I never experienced while being my best!" (ESPN.com)
This is really the first time McGrady has been a part of a championship contender where his expectations are low. and that might bring the best out of him. Former Spur Brent Barry commented on this acquisition via Twitter.
T-Mac should not be total shock, shocking yes…have worked him out. Reminds of when I played for SA on 05 team; great résumé, low risk/reward
Have to think the Diaw absence is what is being addressed; Tracy’s basketball IQ never a question, pass as a weapon at this stage can be use (@Barryathree)
This acquisition is likely to make up for Stephen Jackson's absence but, as Barry suggests, it may also have to do with Boris Diaw. Diaw is one of the few Spurs who can create his own shot and carries a mismatch in the big man position.
That is now gone with the second unit as long as Diaw is sitting out with his back surgery. McGrady will make up the points the Spurs are losing with Diaw and also be able to command the attention of the defense, something forwards Matt Bonner and DeJuan Blair cannot do on the floor.
This signing should excite Spurs fans since the team is adding a scoring threat to the second unit that's deeply needed and is the best move the team could've done in signing a free agent that's eligible for the playoffs.
As it was noted, McGrady's playoff past shouldn't be a concern here as this isn't close to being his team in any way and can be replaced with the Spurs' depth. If he performs above expectations, he will also be an insurance policy for Manu Ginobili and his lingering hamstring injury while possibly giving Parker more rest than expected in the playoffs.
This signing is a low risk-high reward deal.
The Spurs have also been known for bringing in a veteran player itching to win a title for a postseason run and that might be the fire the Spurs need right now to get over their championship drought.
(photo via Tracy McGrady Twitter)