Tracy McGrady spent 15 years in the NBA, made seven All-Star teams and seven All-NBA teams, led the league in scoring twice and scored 18,381 career points. Despite all of that, McGrady remains a paradigm of wasted potential, summed up best by his former coach, Jeff Van Gundy, who was told it takes 10,000 hours of practice for a good player to become truly elite.

“Tracy McGrady was 1,000 hours of practice,” Van Gundy said. “He should be a Hall of Fame player. His talent was other-worldly. He was given a great leg up in the race against other players. He’s as close as I’ve ever seen to someone with a perfect body and a good mind.”

McGrady has acknowledged that, yes, perhaps the game was too easy for him, and that he was not a great practice player because of it. At age 33, he obviously can’t get the opportunity to become a practice warrior back—he was out of the league this year, playing in China, before the Spurs signed him yesterday.

That, at least, gives McGrady some opportunity to change one of the biggest of the many disappointments of his career: In eight NBA playoff appearances McGrady has never once advanced past the first round. Now, playing for the second-seeded Spurs, he is almost assured of suiting up for the second round of this postseason for the first time.