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Tracy McGrady Still Believes Miami Heat Will Make It Work

Nov 30, 2010 – 2:20 PM
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Tim Povtak

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LeBron James and Tracy McGradyORLANDO, Fla. -- Like everyone else, Tracy McGrady has an opinion on the surprising, early-season struggles in South Florida, where the Three Kings of Miami are being scrutinized and ridiculed unmercifully through this first month of the season.

The difference, though, is that his opinion comes from a guy who once walked in their shoes as one of the top five players in the NBA.

He also believes that Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh of the Heat -- after this disappointing start -- will be getting the last laugh.

"They are still going to be a helluva team. They are going to find ways to make it work,'' said McGrady Tuesday before his Detroit Pistons were scheduled to play the Orlando Magic. "They are smart enough to figure it out. It's just not working now. They haven't figured it out yet -- we're only 20 games into the season -- but it's a great problem to have.''

McGrady, 31, is just a shell of the player he once was when he twice led the NBA in scoring, and twice was named an All-NBA first-team selection.

McGrady had told FanHouse last month that "he was jealous as s**t,'' at what Miami had done this summer, signing the three star free agents to play together in their primes.

The Pistons play in Miami Wednesday.

He said Miami's early problems stem from the similarities in the style of both Wade and James. They are too much alike to jell instantly.

"All their careers, they have both initiated the offense, and it is run through them. That's how you gain confidence and rhythm throughout the course of a game,'' he said. "Now when you have both on the court at the same time, they are kind of deferring to one another, like who's going to attack and who is going to sit back this quarter. They haven't figured each other out yet, but they will. I'm sure they'll get it right.''

McGrady and his once-proud Pistons have their own problems to worry about. The Pistons are mired in a effort to rebuild, but still hope to challenge for a playoff spot this season. It's why they signed McGrady this summer, even through he hardly played the last two seasons because of major surgery on his left knee.

He said he is feeling healthy again, but he is averaging just 16.8 minutes and 4.3 points in 17 games. He is coming off a 29-minute, 13-point game against New York.

"I'm not what I once was, but I'm a smart enough player to modify my game, to work with what I can and can't do on the basketball court,'' he said. "As long as I'm healthy -- and I am now -- I feel good about my future. No doubt (I could play another couple years).''

Even if his own career is on the downside, he still gets excited talking about what he will see in Miami Wednesday. In Houston, he played for Jeff Van Gundy, who predicted this summer that the Heat would set an NBA record for most wins in a season. The current record is 72, set the Chicago Bulls during the 1995-96 season.

"If that team stays together, it could be happen down the road for them,'' he said.
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