Detroit Pistons Tracy McGrady confident he will be ready for opener
McGrady missed the Pistons final seven preseason games after playing just eight minutes in the preseason opener at Miami. McGrady said it was a decision he made with Pistons strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander to help prepare him for the regular season.
“I should have never really went through (training camp),” McGrady said. “I should have took the time to stay with Arnie the whole preseason. But I wanted to go through training camp just to see how my body was going to respond after doing two-a-days.
“I wanted to test to see how it was going to move the first preseason game. I really didn’t care about getting up shots or nothing like that, I was just working on my movement. I didn’t like where I was so ... I talked to Arnie and he’s like, the best thing to do was to get with him and work with him the remainder of the preseason, which was a good idea. I’ve seen the change in my body, my movement, my explosion.
“Something I was always scared to do for two years is going to the basket and having to gather myself, plant off two feet and explode up. I’m doing that with no hesitation. I couldn’t do that at the start of training camp.”
Kander and McGrady have been working together during every practice. Kander has unique methods and McGrady feels they are working.
“Working on strengthening areas, not necessarily my knee, but areas that are around my knee. My quads, my hips, places I’ve been lacking as far as strength. Places that kind of take pressure off of my knee, so far it’s been working,” McGrady said. “I can feel the difference in my body, (between) now and when I first started in training camp."
McGrady is confident he will be ready to go when the Pistons open the season on Wednesday at New Jersey.
“Our next practice, I’m out there,” McGrady said.
“I haven’t felt this good in two years. What I’ve been through the last two years trying to get my body back in good shape. I’m feeling good mentally, physically. It’s something I’ve struggled with for two years. To have the opportunity to start this season off feeling good. Hopefully I can gradually get better as far my explosion, my timing, rhythm, everything that I need, that makes me, me. I’m excited about it. It’s definitely a challenge. I’m just looking forward to it.”
Pistons coach John Kuester is hopeful he can see McGrady in a five-on-five situation before McGrady plays in a game and doesn’t want to rush anything.
“Arnie and Tracy have worked extremely hard, but he has not been in a five-on-five environment since the Miami game,” Kuester said. “The most important thing for him and for us is to get him right.
“I love the fact that he wants to project that opener, but I think the most important thing right now is, let's get this thing right and make sure that you're on track for the long haul, not the short-term.”