Before being traded to the Denver Nuggets, JaVale McGee was primarily known for his knucklehead antics with the Washington Wizards. Though McGee still has his moments where he makes bone-headed plays, he’s done wonders to change to perception of himself as a player and somewhat given himself new life in the NBA for the future.
Last season in Denver, McGee was in a time-share at center with Kosta Koufos. In 79 games, all of them with him coming off of the bench, McGee averaged 9.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and two blocks per game in only 18.1 minutes per game while shooting a solid 57.5 percent from the floor. McGee also posted a career-high PER of 20.78 last season.
Koufos is now gone after a draft-night trade sent him to the Memphis Grizzlies, which leaves McGee as the starting center heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season. McGee now having an increased role with the Nuggets has to leave the team with a batch of mixed feelings heading into this year.
There’s no denying McGee’s raw talent and athleticism. He’s explosive around the rim on both ends of the floor. However, McGee has a tendency to get lost in rotations on both offense and defense. There’s also a cause for apprehension in the fact that the last time McGee had a large role with the team was when he developed his unwanted reputation with the Wizards.
Obviously this isn’t that Wizards team at all. The Nuggets have a solid new coach in Brian Shaw and also have a ton of talented young veterans like Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari. McGee should be put in a situation where he can succeed. However, with McGee’s history, it’s hard to know what to expect this season.