- CC: @keystonematthew twitter.com/Q_NASTY21/stat… 16 hours ago
- Scheduling note: @NBATV replaying games 3, 5-7 of 2016 Finals. Indulge or avoid as you see fit. 4 days ago
- Enjoyed this to-100 list from @RobMahoney and @BenGolliver: si.com/nba/2016/09/12… 1 week ago
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Just messing around, getting triple doubles
Live from Planet JaVale – Washington Wizards Preview
December 5, 2011Posted by on
I’m just going to skim over the obvious Washington Wizards bullet points and save the majority of capitalonian focus for the most intriguing player in the NBA.
- John Wall’s good and going to get much, much better. Hopefully all those summer games don’t sap his legs for the ultra 66-game grind.
- We all know they should still be the Bullets.
- The MJ era was awkward, but at least introduced us to a world where his Airness is far from infallible. At some point, we had to expect it and the Washington experience was just the first step toward mortality.
- Jordan Crawford on Jordan Crawford, “I don’t tell nobody, but I feel like I can be better than Michael Jordan.”
Now that the boring shit’s out the way, let’s dissect JaVaaaaaaale McGeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…
In the eyes of his peers, JaVale holds a unique place:
Ron Artest on JaVale:
“He potentially could be a really good player. I think he got to go to school a little bit more. He’s got to work on that IQ a little bit. He got to watch more tape. I don’t think he watches tape. I think he plays video games. I do. I don’t think he watches tape. I think he plays video games and I think he could possibly have an Atari. He should upgrade to a Play Station.”
Kenyon Martin on McGee:
“He’s shooting the ball like he’s Kareem. I know I’m not good, but I’m not calling for the ball.”
Lamar Odom sharing his thoughts after playing with JaVale at team USA try-outs in 2010:
“He’s not here by accident or mistake. He’s one of the most athletic players I’ve ever seen in my life…He’s 7-1, got like a David Robinson build, springs off the floor real quick, goes over the rim. If he can just get his feel for the game together, he can have an impact on a team. Because the game is called basketball, not run and jump.”
While the National Run & Jump Association has a certain ring to it, Lamar’s right. McGee’s physical talents make him one of the most captivating players in a league made up of world-class athletes and part of the reason I decided to dedicate 90% of this Wizards preview to him alone.
The director of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, saw him up close during those same try-outs and added this:
“He’s very raw, he’s very young, he’s a real babe in terms of game experience and he has a real future. So that’s really how we left it with him: Keep working on your game and you may get a call sooner rather than later. You don’t know. We’re playing that by ear.
With the exception of K-Mart getting after him a bit, there’s a trend of inconsistency and lack of focus here and anyone who was willing to sit through the madcap Wizards’ antics last year knows exactly what I’m talking about. I can’t even fathom the trials and tribulations Wizards coach Flip Saunders goes through on a nightly basis:
“The cinnamon thing, that thing doesn’t cut it.”
And of McGee’s misplaced inclinations to take a defensive rebound and push the ball the length of the court?
“We’re going to eliminate his full-court dribbling, that’s what we are going to do. We’re going to eliminate or he’s going to be sitting with (reporters) at the press table for a while. Because I’ve watched that on film and that’s not good.”
Even his teammate, the 21-year-old prodigy John Wall, can see the potential impact McGee’s shenanigans have on the team:
“I don’t know what they (McGee and Nick Young) got going on. They got their own little stories, and their own little movies and they rap sometimes during the season. Basically, as long as they’re being serious and doing the right things and not playing around when its game time or when we’re having a meeting or on the road, anything like that, that’s all I can really focus on.”
McGee’s in a precarious situation in Washington. Like most youngsters, he could benefit greatly from the presence of a few veterans and some stability. Instead, he’s surrounded by other young’ns like Wall, Andray Blatche, Crawford and Young—he’s not that young by NBA standards, but still acts a fool from time to time. In the midst of that prankster-loving environment, McGee’s improved his game in each of his three seasons. His points, rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage, minutes played, games played, PER and offensive and defensive win shares all reached career highs last year. Just beyond the desperate cries for consistency from all corners of the NBA globe is the truth; JaVale’s rapidly improving and he’s only 23.
It’s a lot easier to get excited about a guy before he arrives. It’s the reason people have been flipping their shit about Anthony Randolph since he left LSU and the cause for Rubio mania. If we get a glimpse of that shining star potential, we’re hungry and imaginative about a cosmos full of possibilities and all the while the kids we pin these hopes on are just that … kids; still growing, still developing, still becoming. Some make it, some don’t and then some do this: