Sunday, December 27, 2009

McGrady Couldn't Grasp The Secret

About two months ago I purchased sportswriter Bill Simmons's recent book The Book of Basketball. The book details every issue of NBA basketball that you can imagine. In short, the book is a terrific read.

One part of the book I enjoyed dealt with what Simmons described at "The Secret." Basically, The Secret is that in order for a team to be successful, individual players have to focus more on the team and not on the individual. When a player understands the team is more important than the individual, they understand the secret. The Secret is a vital part of all sports, but all too often it's ignored.

I bring this topic up because of the recent events dealing with the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have been without Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady for much of the season. Despite the team's lack of a real superstar, the unit still continues to play tremendous team basketball each night. Remarkably the team is the West's seventh seed.

Recently Tracy McGrady returned to the lineup. After being upset with his diminished role the Rockets cut him loose. Some people out there might be confused Houston let go of one of the league's best scorers but at the end of the day it comes down to one thing:

Tracy McGrady did not know The Secret.

Look at the Houston Rockets now. They play TEAM basketball. This is an extremely important concept to grasp. Yes, they are not the most talented group of guys out there, but they play as a unit. They have a plethora of guys (Aaron Brooks, Chuck Hayes, Trevor Ariza, Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry, and Shane Battier) who are willing to adjust their playing time to better the TEAM. When McGrady came back into the lineup that important chemistry is lost. Losing team chemistry is detrimental to a team's successes. The instant one man (McGrady) put himself above the team was the instant he lost his job with the Rockets. Houston reminds me in some ways of the Detroit Pistons from a couple teams ago. McGrady's lack of an ability to grasp this concept is what is wrong with the NBA. Far too often the man who puts up 30 points a night is glorified over the guy who sacrifices minutes and shots because he knows it will better the team.

I admire Coach Rick Adelman and how he got rid of McGrady before the problem progressed.

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