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