Tracy McGrady vs Penny Hardaway 1 on 1
Both had McGrady and Hardaway had sparkling careers filled with exciting plays and potential cut short due to injuries. Due to their love of the game, they were able to stick around for quite some time, but their reign at the very top was quite short. That’s what makes this match-up so much fun. Who, in their primes, wins in a game of one on one? Our panel discusses:
Pick: T-Mac. T-Mac is my sleeper pick to win it all. The 2x scoring champ had moves coming out of his ass. Tracy was a better Kevin Durant. And if he’s playing defense like he was on Toronto, Penny is in for a rude awakening, Tracy was such a great shot blocker at least for his position. These two were a lot closer in size than you think, but Penny is no match. Tracy would be throwing ally’s off the backboard to himself all game.
Pick: T-Mac. In there prime both T=Mac and Penny were two of the most versatile swing men in the game. We were truly robbed of potential greatness due to their injuries . Although Penny could score with the best of them his playmaking abilities and natural size caused defenses nightmares. He was like Magic with athleticism. Vince Carter was and established star in Toronto and T-Mac showed glimpses of excitement. But when he arrived in Orlando a SUPERSTAR was unleashed. He was a scoring champion that rivaled the iso capabilities of Kobe #8!! T-Mac had the prime time pressure gene that took over games and showed up when the game was on the line. I give the nod one on one to T-Mac because a natural scorer is what he was. I believe Penny had the better overall game . But one on one is strictly about assassination and T-Mac was a serial killer
Pick: T-Mac. Another pretty hard choice. Two players with similar stories as injuries derailed both promising careers. In his prime, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was a walking mismatch. He could take any guard in the post and was a smooth playmaker for the Orlando Magic. His long range game left much to be desired but he was a total team player. Tracy McGrady was a stud on both ends of the court. His scoring ability, agility, and ability to heat up at a moments notice would make any defender wince when they see a match up with T Mac was on schedule. He had an all around game and if not for injuries would have had a career that would have rivaled D Wade in my opinion… So who wins? Tough to say, but if I was a gambling man (which I am), I would have to go McGrady .I believe both would be able to score on each other but as the game gets closer to being over T Mac could lock down on Penny being that T Mac is longer and has better defensive skills . Neither player is a knock down 3 point shooter but T Mac could have stretches where he could go totally insane and be damn near unguardable. Close game but at the end, McGrady would prevail.
Pick: Penny. T-Mac, at his peak, was one of the most complete scorers in the history of the game. He was 6’9, and had a full complement of skills at his disposal. He could get in the lane and finish. He could face up and bury the jumper. He could also shoot off the dribble. Speaking of dribbling, his handles were incredible. All those skills, but yet he couldn’t get out of the first round in his peak in Orlando. Yes, yes, I know the Magic surrounded him with garbage players. But it was the East! And yeah, it wasn’t as bad as it’s been in the last 5 years, but McGrady did under-perform in some of those critical games. This leads me to Penny. I fully acknowledge that Hardaway had Shaq for his first few seasons, but O’Neal also had Penny. They were a genuine duo, and Hardaway moulded his game to suit Shaq. Not many star players (including Shaq himself) can claim to have done that. Penny had a feel for the game that was hard to quantify, but man, when you saw it, it was unmistakable. I give T-Mac all the credit in the world for backing himself when he left for Orlando to be a superstar, but I really don’t think he would win this. Penny, like Magic Johnson, understood the value of involving his teammates to get the best out of them. Then, when needed, he would elevate his game and carry his team. Compare that to T-Mac, who would often shrink in big moments. Yeah, I’m going with Penny on this one.