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.