Chemistry beats talent: Why Houston Rockets are better without Tracy McGrady
Chemistry beats talent.
After all, improved chemistry helped Houston win 20 of 27 games since losing Tracy McGrady to a season-ending injury. And improved chemistry has boosted their chances of going deep in the playoffs.
Why is Houston better without McGrady?
Less is more. When they lost their All-Star, it created an addition by subtraction situation. Like the post-Allen Iverson Nuggets, the Rockets became a simpler and more functional team, which has produced better results.
Ron Artest and McGrady never clicked. Each needed their share of shots and touches to secure long-term extensions. And, to a certain extent, each likely saw the other as a roadblock to getting that new deal. McGrady’s injury stopped an unhealthy internal competition with ‘Ron-Ron’.
For years, Houston wasn’t taken seriously because their top player and franchise face, McGrady, was perceived as soft. The entire organization was guilty by association. Even during last season’s remarkable winning streak, few expected the club to push deep in the playoffs.
Now they’re blue-collar. Aaron Brooks and Artest control the backcourt, Shane Batter, Yao Ming, and Luis Scola are imposing up-front, and newly acquired Kyle Lowry leads a stacked bench. These Rockets aren’t soft and could win a playoff series.
The McGrady years have been exhausting. His teams have never advanced past the first round and their post-season failures have been especially heartbreaking. The team’s recent success has likely been refreshing for fans.
(After a game seven loss to Utah. This was tough to watch.)
It took an injury to ‘T-Mac’ for the Rockets to learn chemistry beats talent. Hopefully, this translates to playoff success.