Tracy McGrady

He's been the NBA's scoring leader for the past two seasons. He can shoot threes with no problem. He slashes to the rim and gets to the charity line. And that's just his scoring prowess.

He rebounds to the tune of 6 boards a game. He dishes out assists like a point guard, averaging more than 5 per game over each of the past three years. And that's just his secondary abilities.

When you add Jeff Van Gundy's defense-first principles to McGrady's already outstanding offensive output, you have the makings not only of an MVP, but of an NBA All-Defensive Team member.

That's right: with guidance, instruction, practice, and patience, McGrady will become a dominant defensive force. His offensive output may take a dip, notably the points, but his assists could potentially skyrocket, and his steals and blocks will go back up to the 1999-2000 season, his last in Toronto.

People forget when looking at McGrady that the guy can flat-out play defense. In that 2000 season, his first averaging more than 30 points a game, he collected 1.91 blocks and 1.14 steals per game.

For comparison purposes, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Ron Artest collected 2.08 steals but just 0.68 blocks per game.

Of course, McGrady's steals and blocks have declined since that season. Last year, he had 1.39 steals and 0.63 blocks per game. But the Magic were nobody's version of a defensive powerhouse.

The Houston Rockets are.

McGrady's biggest knocks have been his work ethic and his defense. Both are simply wrong. McGrady works damn hard: as he puts it, he can't do the things he does on the floor without practice. And his defense is simply an untapped potential.

Van Gundy will tap it.

T-Mac will be the MVP of the league in the 2004-2005 season.