In the summer of 2000, the Orlando Magic acquired a 21-year-old guard named Tracy McGrady via a sign-and-trade with the Toronto Raptors. McGrady, who showed flashes of brilliance in Toronto, undoubtedly had the potential to be something special and the Magic believed that him playing beside Grant Hill could be a deadly combination.
This week McGrady officially announced his retirement from the NBA. The last image we have of T-Mac in the Association is him sitting on the bench for the San Antonio Spurs at the end of this past season and through their postseason run. After his career was derailed by several injuries, the mighty undoubtedly fell.
However, we sometimes forget how mighty T-Mac was when he was rising to stardom, which happened to be in his time with the Magic. He spent only four seasons in Orlando, but he was unreal in the time that he spent there.
In the 2000-2001 season, McGrady averaged 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in 40.1 minutes per game. Unbelievably, especially considering he was taking 22.4 shot attempts per game, he also managed to shoot a solid 45.7 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent from three.
The next year, McGrady declined a bit, but was still successful as he averaged 25.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.6 steals and one block per game on 45.1 percent shooting and 36.4 percent three-point shooting.
In his third year in Orlando, the 2002-2003 season, McGrady had his best year in the NBA. In 74 games he averaged 32.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor on 24.2 shots per game and also shooting 38.6 percent from three. T-Mac was an unstoppable offensive force that season.
In his final year in Orlando is when the injuries first really started to surface. He played in 67 games, averaging 28 points, six boards and 5.5 assists per game, but his efficiency numbers fell as did some of his ability because he wasn’t at full strength.
Even if McGrady never made it out of the first round of the playoffs in Orlando, one of his unfortunate lasting legacies, there’s no doubt that he was enormous for the Magic while he was a member of their organization. However, does that warrant him having his jersey retired in Orlando.
Obviously this is my opinion and up for debate, but I say McGrady’s jersey should undoubtedly be retired in Orlando. It may have been a brief stay with the Magic, but there’s no denying the importance of what he did for that team. He led them to postseason three times and submitted some unforgettable season-long performances. That type of play and moment in a team’s history, no matter how brief, deserves to be commended and recognized.
Orlando Magic 2013 Player Preview: Doron Lamb
Orlando Magic Rumors: Victor Oladipo Will Get Time At Point Guard, Would Be Genius Decision
Orlando Magic: Team Must Extend Nikola Vucevic Before 2014 Season