JaVale McGee, the second highest-paid player on the Denver Nuggets roster, will get his chance to start in 2013-14. When former-Nugget starter Kosta Koufos got traded to the Memphis Grizziles during the 2013 NBA Draft, the Nuggets made it clear that McGee is their plan for the future.
Last season, McGee averaged 9.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 79 games for the Nuggets. When on the floor, he made a handful of incredible alley-oop dunks and authoritative blocks.
Through five preseason games, McGee has started every one. He looks much improved from last season–especially in the post offensivly. He has also have developed a running jump-hook.
The Nuggets acquired McGee in March of 2011 when they traded Nene to the Washington Wizards. He only played half a season in Spring 2012. The seven-foot prodigy took a four-year $44 million deal on July 18, 2012.
McGee averaged 27 minutes for the Wizards before getting traded. In his half-season after the trade, McGee got 20 minutes for the Nuggets. In 2012, under coach George Karl, McGee saw 18.1 minutes per game.
ESPN.com newssourses indicated that Karl’s use of McGee played factor in his firing in June.
“A source with knowledge of the situation told Shelburne one of the primary issues the Nuggets had with Karl was his reluctance to play young center JaVale McGee, whom they had signed to a four-year, $44 million extension in the offseason.”
Karl claimed that McGee worked best in short bursts. However, it appeared that Karl would pull McGee everytime he made a blooper play.
Notice how Karl reacts when McGee makes a poor play.
The Nuggets front office wasn’t on the same page with Karl the entire season on handling McGee, and it didn’t help Karl’s case for an extension after losing to the Golden State Warriors in the first-round of the 2013 playoffs.
McGee can now develop as a player with Koufos and Karl gone. He will see a majority of courtime ahead of Timofey Mozgov at center. I expect McGee to finish top-3 in blocks this season, and top ten in rebounds.
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