Considering his career stats you might not imagine that JaVale McGee is one of the most well known centers in the league. An explosive athlete who pulled off some incredible dunks in the 2011 dunk contest, a player with huge potential among the lack of first class centers…but he is best known as the star of basketball bloopers ‘Shaqtin’ a fool’.
He is athletic and there are flashes of monstrous explosiveness with a big block or throwdown, but several years into his nba career flashes are all the fans of the Wizards and Nuggets have got. All this talent and potential has yet to show up any real results – apart from some ludicrous JaFail moments (cut to exasperated Coach Karl) for which all NBA fans know JaVale McGee.
Now honestly I quite like McGee, watching him play for the Nuggets in past two season playoffs I really wanted him to do well. When he’s playing well I always get the feeling that he has a big game in him. One of the wins against the Lakers in first round 2 years JaVale had a huge game and posted over 20 points. In game 1 against the Warriors he had a really nasty slam that made you jump out of your seat. I want him to be good, I wish he was good, I want to see him get some incredible alley-oop dunks and be able to give something extra……
Sadly for Nuggets fans he has still to prove that he has a huge amount offer apart from energy and a few highlights . But it would seem that the Nuggets management really believe that McGee will turn into the elite player that he appears to have the potential to be. If you look at his career stats of 8.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 1.0 bpg – the block statistic is the only one that is particularly impressive, alongside his fg% of 58%. Hardly the kind of numbers that prove how good McGee can be. Nick Juskewycz highlights that McGee’s lacks basic offensive skills – as in anything beyond a dunk is a bit beyond his skill set.
Adam Rubin points out, ‘We’ve all had the same conversation: “If only he developed a go-to post move. . . .if only he stopped biting for pump fakes. . . .if only he learned to box out. . . .” But this conversation has been going on for five years.’
Ultimately McGee must be a frustrating player to coach, for every good play he makes there is going to be a boneheaded play. He has size and athleticism that it would great to make use of, but he can be a liability if left on the floor for too long. George Karl no longer needs to worry about that because he’s out of the organisation. McGee’s playing time was a source of contention for Karl, but my firing Karl and trading away much improved center Koufos, the front office made it very clear that they want McGee starting for the Nuggets. Karl knew he had a good team and ‘made it clear that he wouldn’t sacrifice victories to watch McGee go through growing pains.’
Nuggets are going to go through growing pains as a team next year, having lost Karl and Iguodala they will be hard pressed to win 57 games again. There is going to be a lot of pressure on Lawson and Gallinari – and there should be the same pressure on McGee too. I imagine the Nuggets will be desperate to get out of the 1st round of the playoffs next year. But what will McGee do during this offseason to help achieve that goal, will he step up and be the player he needs to be? Or will he be the same frustrating player that the Nuggets won’t be able to trade at the end of the next season?
Inconsistent play was linked to inconsistent minutes according to McGee. He now has the opportunity and a front-office that believe in him. Time to prove people wrong, and start making top plays for his team instead of Shaqtin’ a fool. I hope for Nuggets fans that the belief in McGee is well founded.
References – (and to read more on this topic)
Nick Juskewycz – Will Denver Nuggets Regret Choosing JaVale McGee Over George Karl?
Christopher Dempsey – Nuggets center JaVale McGee under pressure with Kosta Koufos out of picture
Like many nba fans I was extremely impressed with the performance of the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. They were a great team to watch, and I couldn’t help but like them with supremely confident Mark Jackson at the helm. The team have been relatively busy in the offseason so far, with the big addition being former all-star Andre Iguodala. I’m sure that the Warriors taking out the Nuggets in the first round had some influence on Iggy’s decision to not stay in Denver as well.
However despite the new additions to a team that will have set their sights high for next season, I’m not really sure if the moves that they have made will actually make the team better. Carl Landry, and in particular Jarrett Jack, were essential cogs in the Warriors playoff run – both capable of getting tough buckets when Curry and Thompson were either off the floor or not red-hot.
Losing Jack and Landry will be even bigger if the Warriors have any serious injury troubles next season. It is certainly not outside the realm of possibility that Curry and Bogut are injured for large parts of the season. Even if Curry just gets a bit banged up in a game, being able to bring Jack off the bench was huge. If GS need offensive rebounds, there is no energetic Landry to insert into the frontcourt.
Another issue is what happens now to Harrison Barnes? Iguodala is a great two-way player, especially on the defensive end, but he is not someone who is really going to inject any offensive spark. Harrison Barnes had a great season and has absolutely massive potential, making huge plays and hitting important shots. Coach Jackson is going to have to choose between these two players for who is going to start – really it has to be big new signing Iggy, and then Barnes will become the injection of offense from the bench. It’s a big responsability for Barnes and he will have to adapt quickly to his new role. Jackson will need to keep the young forward motivated after a great season……in which he will now be rewarded with a bench role.
The other rookies for the Warriors last season will only improve – I would liked to have seen the core of this team stay together for at least another season. We will have to wait and see, but I’m really not sure that the offseason moves have actually made the team better – if anything, without Jack and Landry coming off the bench, they will be weaker.
With free agent signing underway – and lots of moves becoming official tomorrow – it’s natural to think ahead to how all of these moves will affect teams that have added players. Now I’m sure I can’t be the only one who will soon head to their xbox and update their rosters for NBA 2K13 and then use that to get an idea of what teams may play like next year. Clearly this isn’t always helpful, last years LA Lakers being a very clear example. They had an epic rating on the game, but we all know how they actually played. Who knows what the lakers will be like next season – on 2K14 or in real life for that matter…
The biggest free agents of this summer were clearly D12 and CP3. Paul re-signed with the Clippers, obviously very important for that franchise, but getting Doc Rivers in to coach the team was also an important move. He brings championship experience and should be able to get that team more playoff ready, and hopefully ensure that Chris Paul is not the only player that bothers to show up come the postseason. Exciting as Blake Griffin is to watch I’m hoping that he develops some kind of decent-ish jumpshot during the offseason as well. (Sometimes it is quite horrific to watch him shoot from range, unless you want the Clips to lose) With the personnel they’ve got, and their division being so weak, the Clips will make the playoffs again and probably get 50+ wins. There are so many teams they can go all ‘lob-city’ over and totally dominate offensively…but they have to translate their success into a deep postseason run. Doc can certainly help them do that, but they need Griffin to improve. If he doesn’t show something this season (I mean apart from some epic dunks) the Clippers should look for an upgrade, and playing with CP3 will always be an attraction.
Howard to Houston. Well clearly the Rockets made a pretty impressive pitch, and they really seemed to go all out to get him. Clearly getting Howard in improves a team that finished 8th in the tough Western Conference (and really if they had had a short run at the end of the season they could have finished as high as 6th). It will certainly change their offense and should change their defence too. I look forward to seeing a tough drive from Harden who then drops it off to Dwight for a monster slam. I think Howard will knuckle down and work to win a championship with the Rockets, but we shall have to wait and see. I’d quite like Asik to stay as the back-up too. He was a lot better as a starter than I gave him credit for, and it’ll be a big boost for the young Rockets to be able to bring his D and rebounding off the bench when Howard inevitably gets in foul trouble.
With the NBA draft over, and the free agent frenzy in full swing, basketball fans are now looking ahead to next season. Some pretty big moves have happened already (D12 to Houston of course).The playoffs have been over for a while now, but in my first post I wanted to give a few thoughts on the finale of last season.
Although the Finals were shown on skysports this year (which I know not everyone has), as an NBA fan in the UK it isn’t easy to follow the playoffs. That is unless you are willing to pay-up for the NBA League Pass – in my opinion it is 100% worth the money, especially if you get it for the whole playoffs – and really it is the only way to properly watch the games and get caught up in the excitement taking place across the Atlantic.
For me I’d compare playoff time in the NBA to how many people feel about the 6 Nations in the UK. People may not watch rugby all the time, but come the 6 Nations loads of people watch it, and there is massive excitement over a short period of times about the games. Now I habitually check nba.com but I really can’t justify getting the nba pass for a whole season at the moment. So playoff time is my chance for a bball binge, getting to see teams and players I have only really watched highlights of during the regular season – and of course massive excitement over a relatively short period of time.
My little bro and I are pretty big nba fans, and we have some long debates/discussions about the nba – especially during the playoffs – (my brother particularly likes to give the refs a hard time) One such recent conversation was discussing the best game of this years playoffs. I’m slightly inclined towards Game 5 of the Finals……but it doesn’t quite make it into my top 3.
So in no particular order –
1. Indiana @ Miami – Game 1
Don’t give LeBron a lay-up!!!
I really wanted Indiana to win this series, and honestly they came pretty close in the end. There was some inspired play by Big Roy Hibbert, but it was always painful to watch when the Pacers put their second unit in. This game is in because it was exciting, it was close all the way and it came right down to the wire. The Paul George 3 to force OT was RIDICULOUS, I genuinely could not believe it! When Indy took the lead with a few seconds left it was incredible, they were so close to a great upset in an awesome game. It was such an enjoyable game overall. Then the Pacers game lebron a lay-up with about 2 seconds left. It still pains me to think about it now. Who know what would have happened in they had won Game 1…
2. Golden State @ San Antonio – Game 1
Manu for the win
Another Game 1 yes, but it’s another one that may well have changed the series if had gone the other way. Now let’s be totally honest the Warriors should have won this game – Steph Curry was incredible, the whole of Mark Jackson’s team played great. I loved watching GS in the playoffs this year, and even though I kind of wanted the Spurs to win their play was winning me over. The comeback was incredible, OT was amazing edge of the seat stuff. And Manu’s 3 for the win, coming moments after this ill-advised 3 miss from looonnng distance earlier, was icing on the cake of truly enjoyable game.
3. Brooklyn @ Chicago – Game 4
Late Great Nate
This game was ridiculous! Seeing is believing, I mean it is sort of difficult to explain how Nate Robinson played. Chicago were underhanded and down in the fourth…then Nate happened. This was an incredible triple-OT game, and I defy anyone to watch it and not accept that basketball is the one of the greatest sports/entertainments/things in the world.
There were plenty of great games as there always are, but these were the most instantly memorable for me.