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Let’s Dance

By Stephen Hale on April 17, 2013.

“Dance with the one that brung you” was a favorite expression of University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal.

Unfortunately, not all the dancers who ‘brung’ the Spurs to finishing #1 in the Southwest Division, #2 in the Western Conference and #3 in the NBA are still dancing.

Yesterday we learned that the Spurs are bringing a new dancer to the prom: Tracy McGrady. (DJ scratches the record and chaperones gasp).

Read that again Spurs fans: T-Mac will be wearing Silver and Black. Days after saying goodbye to Stephen Jackson, we welcome the 6’8,” 225lb, 33-year old former All-Star into the Alamo City.

After reading the news on Twitter, I stared at my feed for about six minutes, wondering how I felt about the Spurs new “date” for the big dance.

After the shock wore off a bit, I received a text from my father: “Are we supposed to be excited about T-Mac with the Spurs?”

I didn’t have an answer.

Until now.

My answer is: yes. And no.

Anyone expecting the T-Mac who scored 13 points against the Spurs in 33 seconds is going to be sadly disappointed. T-Mac has put up some impressive numbers playing in China this season: 25-7-4, but China isn’t the NBA. I would say those numbers translate to about 11-4-3 in the NBA. Maybe.

T-Mac admits to being slower, but also feels he has gained significant upper body strength and a better post game. He is wiser about his body and has worked out the mental fears that a player goes through after a major surgery (i.e. Derrick Rose). Plus he feels comfortable playing point guard and guarding bigger players.

Sounds like he’s a Spur already.

The key here is to have realistic expectations. Consider the move “low risk, high reward.” For all we know, T-Mac might not ever set foot on the court. He knows this and accepts it (looking at you, Stephen). The Spurs can sign him knowing he is better than an empty chair at the end of the bench. Maybe he just plays garbage time. Maybe he suits up for the first round, we get eliminated and then he is gone. We lose nothing. We give him a high five and he goes on his merry way. He needs little or no maintenance, is younger than Cap’n Jack (not by a lot) and much cheaper.

Plus, McGrady has a chip on his shoulder about wanting to make it past the first round of the playoffs. I get the impression he isn’t a fan of the Houston Rockets, either. He just wants to be at the dance.

But what if T-Mac does play? What if he does contribute, noticeably? What if he has an 8-point run when our second unit normally drops off at the end of the 3rd quarter?

Then Pop, Pete and R.C. (our real dates) are geniuses. I don’t expect McGrady to average 11 points a game or anything close to it, but I won’t be shocked to see him shake up the second unit. I firmly believe he’s capable of a having a 12-16 point performance on any given night. I think if he does get on the dance floor, he will cut some rug. We’ll see some flashes of the old T-Mac, enough to raise some eye brows. I’m not saying that T-Mac will be the prom king, but I do think he could be the toast of the town, at least for a day.

Whether or not T-Mac plays, I believe his signing is a solid move. I think it will motivate and inspire the team. T-Mac is a mature player with very high basketball I.Q. I think he can learn the Spurs system quickly.

Incidentally, tonight might be the season’s craziest, with playoff seedings still up in the air for many teams, including our Spurs.

I hope we see some T-Mac and maybe Manu against the Wolves, but I won’t get my hopes up. I’ll be paying more attention to the Utah-Memphis game, Golden State-Portland game and, most importantly, the Los Angeles Lakers-Houston game.

I’d love to see the Spurs play Houston in the 1st round and Golden State in the 2nd. It would be nice to see the Lakers beat up on the Thunder a little bit, too.

Unfortunately, things aren’t in our hands anymore. All we can control is how we show up to the dance (mentally) and whose lead we follow (Pop).

So let’s dance.

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