Carmelo Anthony and Tracy McGrady were two of the game’s best scorers in their generation. Their ability to get buckets in a variety of ways allowed them to dominate the game on every level. Carmelo and McGrady had both inside and outside games, along with other important attributes such as strong rebounding and playmaking. While neither played All-Star level defense, their impact on their teams was truly Hall of Fame status.
Here is the player comparison between 2 all-time great talents, Carmelo Anthony and Tracy McGrady.
Scoring – Even
Carmelo Anthony averaged 23.4 PPG on 44.8% shooting from the field, including 35.0% from three. Anthony shot 81.2% from the free-throw line during his time in Denver, and he certainly got there a lot. Anthony had an amazing post-up game and he got his buckets on the edge of the block or from the perimeter. Anthony was also a monster at finishing near the rim, often finishing with an And-One.
Tracy McGrady averaged 19.6 PPG during his Hall of Fame career, by shooting 43.5% from the field and 33.8% from three. His free throw percentage was slightly under par at 74.6%. McGrady was completely unstoppable on offense and often needed two or three defenders to slow him down. T-Mac could finish at the rack, often rising above defenders for jams.
Overall, it is too hard to distinguish between Anthony and McGrady and this one is even. Anthony had a better post-up game and was a bigger body who could handle beatings down low. McGrady was a better deep-range shooter and that makes this even.
Athleticism – Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady was probably the most athletic two-guard in the game when he was healthy. He was extremely long, stood 6’8″ tall, and moved incredibly quickly. Alongside Kobe Bryant, no shooting guard could dominate a game athletically like T-Mac.
Although he looked a bit thick and bulky, Carmelo Anthony was an incredible athlete. He was explosive and had the strength to back down every opponent in his position. Anthony was truly a dominant athlete but he wasn’t quite as gifted as McGrady. McGrady could rise above the rim better than Melo could and was a superior athlete.
Defense – Tracy McGrady
Both Carmelo Anthony and Tracy McGrady are considered two of the game’s greatest offensive players. That is why their defensive games are often overlooked.
Carmelo Anthony was never much of a defender and never played above an average level of defense. With the Nuggets, he was all about offense and he was still arguably a top-5 player in the game despite his average defense. Melo averaged 1.0 SPG and 0.5 BPG during his career.
Tracy McGrady was also a sensational scorer, and his defense was never truly important. Although not a stopper every night, McGrady had a higher defensive I.Q than Anthony. T-Mac averaged 1.2 SPG and 0.9 BPG with his career, often using his athletic gifts and genius basketball I.Q to get stops when needed. He was a more consistent defender than Carmelo Anthony and takes the advantage here.
Clutch – Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony and T-Mac are very capable players in the clutch. Due to their scoring ability, either player is a perfect fit for taking the last shot of an important game even as they aged. But the edge has to go slightly to Carmelo Anthony.
Carmelo Anthony is one of the most clutch players of all-time, and he was always ranked as one of the top players that GMs voted to be the most deadly in the clutch. Anthony’s size always gave him an advantage on offense, and he has a highlight reel worthy amount of game-winners. McGrady was as clutch as it can get, but Anthony has to take this one.
Leader – Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony and Tracy McGrady led by example on the court, and each had tremendous success over their careers. But Carmelo Anthony has to take the edge over Tracy McGrady because Anthony showed tremendous leadership during his time with Team USA.
Anthony won 3 Olympic titles with Team USA and was the best player on his team during the majority of his career. He was the leader for the Nuggets and Knicks and is now a veteran for the Portland Trail Blazers. McGrady was the best player during his time with the Magic and Rockets, but he was often injured and never proceeded past the first round of the playoffs.
With Melo in charge, he reached the Western Conference Finals with the Nuggets and even the Eastern Conference Semifinals with the Knicks so he went further with his team as a leader than McGrady ever did.
Basketball IQ – Even
When it comes to basketball I.Q., Carmelo Anthony and Tracy McGrady are probably 2 of the best in their generation at scoring I.Q.
Carmelo Anthony was a genius on offense and was a very capable rebounder. Anthony could affect a game single-handedly and he often used his exceptional offensive awareness to lead the game in scoring. Similarly, McGrady was a sensational offensive player and also an All-Star playmaker. They could get buckets for their teams when needed but this one has to be even. An older Tracy McGrady probably takes this one but when he was in Orlando, he didn’t quite possess the level of all-around game that he had later on.
Impact – Even
Looking ahead to impact on a basketball game, again this one is too close to call. Carmelo Anthony and Tracy McGrady impacted the game at an MVP level offensively and each had other key attributes such as rebounding and playmaking respectively. They were capable in the clutch and also were the undisputed best leaders on their teams. As a result, their impact is similar and cannot be distinguished.
1 on 1 Game – Even
Carmelo Anthony was unstoppable one on one, as he was often too strong and too talented for any defender to handle. What he allowed on defense isn’t close to what he could bring to the table on offense, and he would strike fear into opposing coaches’ hearts.
Tracy McGrady was also an unstoppable force on offense, and he could not be handled with only one or two defenders. He was too explosive, too quick, and too deadly from anywhere on the court. T-Mac was a better defender than Anthony, but that isn’t enough to distinguish them. This one is even again.
Career – Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony made 10 All-Star Teams, 6 All-NBA Teams, and won the 2013 scoring title. Anthony has also won 3 Olympic medals with the United States internationally and has had a sensational scoring record of 15 straight seasons averaging over 20 PPG. Anthony also led the Denver Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals and the New York Knicks to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Anthony’s scoring record and the fact that he still plays today at 36 years of age is also sensational to consider.
Tracy McGrady had an unbelievable prime, making 7 All-Star Teams and 7 All-NBA Teams. T-Mac also won 2 scoring titles, and the 2001 Most Improved Player of the Year Award. McGrady also averaged over 21 PPG for 8 straight years, from 2001 until 2008. McGrady’s best season came in 2003 where he averaged 32.1 PPG for the Orlando Magic.
McGrady’s 8 year-run was eventually cut short with injuries and he certainly did not have Anthony’s longevity. Carmelo played longer, had more accolades, has an incredible scoring record which gives him a career advantage over the Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady.
Carmelo Anthony vs. Tracy McGrady 3-2
The comparison between these 2 superstars is very close. Carmelo Anthony was a better inside scorer and a rebounder, while Tracy McGrady was a better playmaker and defender. Melo and McGrady were bonafide All-Stars and MVP candidates in their respective times and as a result, their abilities as superstars players make them close to each other. T-Mac was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018 and Carmelo Anthony will also be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
What ultimately separates them is the amount of accolades and scoring record that Carmelo Anthony achieved over his incredible career. McGrady accumulated a lot in a very short amount of time and he was arguably the best shooting guard in the game alongside Kobe Bryant in his prime. But injuries cut his career far too short and he cannot match what Carmelo Anthony brought to the game of basketball. As a result, Carmelo Anthony edges Tracy McGrady as the better all-around player.