A couple of days ago, JR Smith tweeted he’d take prime Kevin Durant over prime Tracy McGrady in no time, something that raised a huge debate on social media on which player would win one on one.
Moreover, Evan Fournier even agreed with JR, something that made T-Mac go crazy and comment he should try and break one of his records with the Magic and then he would have the right to talk smack.
Either way, we love both of those players and would love to build a team around both players. Nonetheless, just for the sake of the argument, let’s go ahead and compare prime McGrady with prime Durant.
Inside Scoring: Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady was just unstoppable from within the close range, being one of the craftiest, most athletic and explosive finishers this game has ever seen. When driving, there was simply no player on earth that could try and stop him, even though Kevin Durant has also always been an elite scorer from all three levels.
Outside Scoring: Kevin Durant
Durant is one of the best three-point shooters this game has ever seen, especially for a guy so tall. Throughout his entire career, Durant has averaged over 1.8 three-pointers a game compared to McGrady’s 1.2. Also, Durant is a career 38.2% shooter from beyond the arc, while McGrady connected on 33.8% of his attempts.
Playmaking: Tracy McGrady
During McGrady’s prime, he was pretty much always in charge of handling playmaking duties, being such a ball-dominant scorer. Through that stretch, McGrady never averaged under 5.0 assists a contest. On the other hand, while Durant is such an unselfish player and a willing facilitator, he’s averaged just 4.0 dimes a contest.
Athleticism: Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady is arguably a top 5 most athletic player in the history of the game. Of course, Durant’s length and wingspan are incredible, but the way McGrady could contour his body, take off, catch his own misses and posterize every single defender in the world make him a no-brainer in this regard.
Defense: Kevin Durant
McGrady was a very solid defender when playing against top-tier opposition, but Kevin Durant has grown to become one of the league’s best defenders. He’s always checking players like LeBron James and James Harden, and his length provides him with the opportunity of guarding 1 through 5 with great ease.
Rim Protection: Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant has slowly grown to become one of the league’s best rim protectors, coming off a season where he led the Warriors by swatting 1.8 shots a contest. Prime McGrady made the most of his hops and athleticism to swat 1.7 shots a game, but Durant has been a much more consistent shot blocker over time.
Rebounding: Kevin Durant
Naturally, considering Durant’s height, he’s going to have a better shot at piling boards than McGrady. Over the course of his career, Durant has snatched 7.2 rebounds per contest, while McGrady averaged roughly 5.6 On a side note, both of their career highs for rebounds is 17, but Durant has never averaged under 4.4 rebounds a game.
Clutch: Tracy McGrady
Yes, Kevin Durant has come huge in the clutch, but Tracy McGrady had ice in his veins. If you don’t take our word for it, just ask the San Antonio Spurs about the time he scored 13 points in 35 seconds to steal a win, including 4/4 from beyond the arc and 1/1 from the charity stripe. He was just money when the clock was running down.
Leadership: Kevin Durant
You may argue Durant isn’t a leader because he had Westbrook in Oklahoma and Curry in Golden State, but truth to be told, he’s always been great in the playoffs and his teams have come as far as he’s led them. McGrady, on the other hand, was never able to take a team to playoff success.
Basketball IQ: Tracy McGrady
Kevin Durant really understands the flow of the game and is a very smart player, but McGrady was always one of the best off-ball scorers you could find in the league. Also, while Durant averages 3.2 turnovers per contest, McGrady never averaged over 3.0, as he was way better at taking care of the ball.
Better Scorer: Kevin Durant
Given Durant’s ability to pull up from everywhere on the court and score from all three levels, we have to consider him a slightly better scorer than McGrady. Durant has won 4 scoring titles compared to McGrady’s 2. Also, Durant averages 27.2 compared to McGrady’s 19.6. On a side note, T-Mac recorded a 62 game piece, while Durant’s career high is 54.
Impact: Kevin Durant
McGrady was constantly getting hurt and his teams always had to find a way to make up for his absence. Durant’s absence, on the other hand, cannot be replaced. McGrady always took control on the game on the offensive end of the floor, but Durant is an important in the defensive side of the hardwood he is on offense.
1 on 1 Game: Kevin Durant
Even though Tracy McGrady was one of the most explosive players in isolation, we have to go with Kevin Durant here because of the fact that he's a shooting guard trapped in a big man's body. He can shoot lights out from all three levels and could do a better job locking down T-Mac than McGrady would do trying to contain Durant.