Tracy McGrady played last night for the first time since February 8, 2009. I remember the game like it happened just yesterday. T-Mac played 25 minutes and shot 11.1 percent from the floor. Or wait, was that Nov. 11, 2008, against the Lakers. No, he went 1-for-11 that night. Yeah, last season was pretty sweet for Mr. McGrady. He shot 38.3 percent from the floor, missed 47 games over the span of the year — injured six times. Some things you just refuse to forget.
So, McGrady made his debut playing eight minutes (all in the 1st quarter), spending most of the time hovering around the three-point line. He made just 1-of-3 field-goal attempts (a three-pointer) and looked about as sluggish and lazy as I remember. If you care to know, I have little faith in T-Mac. In fact, don’t own him in any of the dozen leagues I’m in. His name happens to be more valuable than his game, so at the very least you can pick him up and trade him. He’s one of the leaders in All-Star voting and has only played EIGHT MINUTES. Somebody out there loves McGrady. Just know that I’m not one of them.
Trevor Ariza missed last night’s game (suspension, punch), giving Chase Budinger a chance to play to log 40 minutes for the first time in his young career. He posted 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Budinger should revert back to the 15-18 minute range once Ariza returns. You also have to love the fact that Aaron Brooks shot 10-of-20 from the floor. Just two nights after shooting 6-of-20. The one concern you have about Brooks is that he’s only made three of his last 18 three-point attempts. The other thing working against Brooks (and the rest of the Rockets) is the return of Tracy McGrady. I may be crazy, but I think that T-Mac may be the worst thing to happen to this team — especially given how well they’ve played early on. Anyone?
The other story of the night was the 42-point performance by Kobe Braynt. He started hot, scoring 20 points in the first ten minutes. The Bulls, on the other hand, were anything but hot. They were… not? They shot 38.5 percent from the floor — John Salmons (1-of-5), Derrick Rose (9-of-22), and Joakim Noah (4-of-16) were the main culprits. For the third time in four games, the Bulls failed to score 90 points. I wonder when the Vinny Del Negro ‘watch’ will come to an end anytime soon…Lawrence Frank anyone?
Other performances of note:
Tim Duncan: scored a season-high 34 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in a loss to the Suns. Nice to see a 30 and 10, as he’s playing a career-low 32 minutes per game on the season. You may not see another one in quite a while.
Roger Mason: Hit 5 treys last night on his way to scoring 19 points. Remember when we saw this Mason on a regular basis last season. Don’t expect him to return often this season.
Jerryd Bayless: Scored 14 points AND finished the closely contested game while Andre Miller sat glued to the bench. At this point, neither are reliable in standard leagues. Bayless has a nice future, but he’s not ready to contribute on a regular basis.
Rafer Alston: Skip scored 20 points, draining 4 treys in 18 minutes. Both Keyon Dooling and Chris Douglas-Roberts missed this one, opening up more minutes and more touches — also, Courtney Lee couldn’t buy a bucket (8 points on 3-of-14 shooting).
Jared Jeffries: Traaaaaiiiid Baaaaiiiiit! Jeffries had 6 steals, 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Knicks are loving his performance, but fantasy owners need not get too excited.
Chris Duhon: …on the other hand, here is a guy worth adding. Duhon continues to raise his dreaded FG%. His play has been pretty stellar — 18 points, 6 assists, 3 treys and a steal. I would add Duhon if he’s available in your league and ride him out. Then I would look to trade him as his value rises. Remember, Duhon burned out last season after the All-Star break. With D’Antoni playing just 7 or 8 guys, I fear that Duhon can’t keep the pace all season long. I also fear that I am iron deficient.
Raymond Felton: Add this dude. Like Duhon, Felton has been playing great ball of late. He added 4 more steals last night. That’s 15 over his last four. He’s also scored 14 or more points in four of his last five and dished 5.3 assists. He’s feelin’ it.
Jarrett Jack: What a dick. Six points, one assist and 5 turnovers in 32 minutes. Wasn’t he supposed to treat us well while we waited for Jose Calderon to return? I’m still starting him. He can’t get rid of me that easily.
Carlos Arroyo: He started in place of Mario Chalmers and scored 12 points and dished 3 dimes in 20 minutes. The news here is that Chalmers has been sent to the bench. He still has more value than Arroyo, but things aren’t looking good for the second-year point.
Richard Hamilton: He’s back for sure. 21 points last night (without Gordon and Bynum in the lineup). You can safely get him back in your lineup. Hey that’s great news.
*12 games on Wednesday night.
Sit: Ryan Gomes, Calderon, Douglas-Roberts, and T-Mac.
Check the status of Ben Gordon and Will Bynum.
Watch: Elton Brand, Allen Iverson and Jrue Holiday in Philly. Who gets what minutes?