T-Mac and Stack are Proving Their Worth

Monday, December 12, 2011
By Jon Newberry

The Hawks have signed Tracy McGrady (14 year veteran) and have also invited Jerry Stackhouse (16 year veteran) to training camp. You can’t dispute that these guys have accomplished a ton in the league, but what is their value to the Hawks at this point in their career?

If all goes well, it could be extremely high.

The obvious benefit of adding veterans to the roster is just their presence in the locker room and their leadership on and off the court. The Hawks have added veterans in the past (Joe Smith, etc) but none of them have been as accomplished as T-Mac or Stack, and none of them have been as proactive in taking the time to pull guys to the side and offer advice.

Coach Drew noticed right away that guys were receptive.

“I’ve already started to see, not only Stack but Tracy as well, pull those young guys to the side and just kind of talk to ’em and tell them how to do certain things and position on the floor, and reads, and that whole thing.”

Even before training camp started, Stackhouse, who is an regular participant in pick up games at Philips Arena during most offseasons, was taking the time to give Teague tips on guarding players that are bigger than him. Both Stack and T-Mac are skilled in offering tips and advice without sounding condescending or disrespectful. Of course, their track record greatly enhances their credibility.

“Two big-time superstars,” Marvin commented. “You know, growing up as a kid we watched those guys pretty much dominate the league. To have those two guys as teammates, I’m most definitely excited to learn some things from them.”

Keith Benson said he had a pair of T-Mac’s shoes when he was younger and watched Stack a lot as he grew up in Detroit.

Before we get too far into the value of these guys as leaders, let’s not forget that they are looking solid in scrimmages too. They aren’t in camp as coaches and feel that they have plenty to offer the Hawks this season.

T-Mac has looked good so far in training camp. Specifically, he has been shooting the ball extremely well.

“It’s just like riding a bike,” McGrady commented. “It’s just repetition… and I’ve been in the gym all summer.”

The two-time All-NBA first team selection has been hampered by injuries in recent years, and he feels like he will surprise a lot of people now that he is feeling better.

“I’m a lot healthier than I was last year, so I look forward to having a great season,” he said. “Where my game is… its not even no comparison to how I feel now and where I’m at now  mentally and physically compared to last season. I’m going to bring a lot to the table regardless of what a lot of people think and what they saw last season. It will definitely be a new player that they see on the basketball court.”

Likewise, Stackhouse has been shooting the ball well in camp, and offers some options for Coach Drew.

“He’s a 2 that can make shots,” said Drew. “He’s got size to defend. He brings veteran leadership, so we are going to give him a very close look.”

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