He may not look like the type, but Gregg Popovich is a collector. We know that because the Spurs bench has often resembled an episode of Antique Roadshow. The Spurs dusty bench is the grim reaper for NBA vets. Throughout their run, San Antonio has bolstered its bench by hoarding away past their prime stars like Antonio McDyess, Glenn Robinson, Nick Van Exel, Damon Stoudamire, Steve Smith, Theo Ratliff and Michael Finley. The Spurs currently have Boris Diaw on display along with the eighth and ninth wonders of the Ancient World, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
On Tuesday, they brushed the cobwebs off of 33-year-old swingman Tracy McGrady. NBA dinosaurs Tim Duncan and McGrady have history that dates back to the Jurassic summer of 2000, when the pair nearly linked up in Orlando. Instead, they embarked along diverging paths.
Duncan tacked on three more titles to his resume, as McGrady racked up regular season honors, but got trapped in the first round like R. Kelly, before knee injuries derailed his career.
Serendipitously enough, if McGrady’s going to reach the second round of the playoffs for the first time in his career, the Spurs may have to brush past the Houston Rockets, where McGrady’s last stand as an impact player came.
Last seen averaging a career-low 5.3 points per game as an Atlanta Hawk during the lockout-shortened season, McGrady went to China and got back in the habit of dropping 25 or more a game. However, he also won just eight games and missed the playoffs in a country where the eccentric Stephon Marbury has wiped the vaseline from his lips long enough to become a two-time champ and Shavlik Randolph is the leading scorer.
Incredibly enough, McGrady’s signing lowers the Spurs average age as he’ll be taking the roster spot vacated by recently-released backup small forward, Stephen Jackson.