The ‘What If’ All Stars – JaVale McGee
These aren’t Franken-Marc-stein monsters.
These are combining the physical talents of a current crop of young players who are missing ‘something’, whatever that may be, with a seasoned vet’s ‘talent’ that cannot be taught.
From an intellectual shortcoming or a player in need of a shot of tough juice, I think these players could have learned a thing or two had they come into the league in a different environment, or even stayed in school for another year or two.
What if he had Tim Duncan’s professionalism?
Since being drafted out of small town Nevada with the 18th pick of the 2008 NBA draft, JaVale McGee has done some amazing things in the NBA.
Off the charts athleticism combined with Jay Bilas’ mood arousing ‘huge wingspan’, strong shot-blocking and rebounding, and a dunk comp effort that has become underrated because it’s been overshadowed by his unintentional comedy act (and that Blake Griffin guy).
When you question why he’s being paid such an exorbitant amount ($44m over 4 years, signed this off-season) whilst still coming off the bench, backing up Kosta Koufos, your question is answered when you see the bad ‘oh wow’ McGee moments.
Most remember the blatant triple double versus Chicago that went against the unwritten code of conduct in the NBA.
He has more Tweets under his Twitter account – under his alias Pierre no less – than he has minutes played in the NBA.
How about the fact he rides an all terrain Segway around downtown Denver, and let’s not forget the countless online GIF’s of his botched free throw line dunk versus Miami or his goal-tends that need a Benny Hill track playing behind them.
McGee is still very young, and after an off-season that saw some changes to the team and some coaching by post-master Hakeem Olajuwon, he was expected to follow up his successful postseason of 2012 versus the Lakers, by delivering the Nuggets a strong 25-30 minute slab of work each and every night.
It hasn’t happened.
At the other end of the spectrum is Tim Duncan.
The former number one overall pick has too many team and individual accolades to list, and frankly as a Suns fan I don’t think I can stomach typing them all out!
He has aged well, currently placing 12th in the league in rebounds, and 3rd equal in blocks, while he’s making free throws at a career high clip of 81%.
Not bad for a guy who was meant to be fading away from the NBA and not up for being a go-to player on a great team.
You never hear Tim Duncan’s name bandied about in a negative manner.
He doesn’t get caught in strip-clubs at 4am on game day.
He doesn’t get into fights on the court or get caught with weed or get stopped at an airport with a handgun.
He was ejected for laughing at referee Joe Crawford in 2007, so he is human, but Crawford did actually ask him to thrown down for on-court fisticuffs.
Don’t get me wrong, McGee is not a bad egg, he is just quirky and I’m sure we all know someone like him, albeit not seven foot tall and making $11m to play a game.
He doesn’t get into trouble and if the worst thing he does is make dumb plays then chuck him in-line with the other 100 players guilty of the same weakness.
McGee has athleticism even Prime Tim Duncan could only dream of.
He has the biggest wingspan in the entire NBA, and yet he just can’t combine a professional work ethic with his physical gifts.
If McGee wants to leave a mark in the NBA as he should, then it can’t be as ‘Pierre’, but as a dominant defensive big man.
He has the upside to be a rebounding and shot-blocking leader in the league, and if he could just get out of George Karl’s dog box, I have no doubt he would be a 12-14 points, 10-11 rebounds, 2.5-3 blocks and 25 Tweets per game player.
Don’t agree with the article or there’s another player who makes you scratch your head more than clap your hands? Let us know in the reply box below.
Next up in the What If All Stars will be Anthony Randolph.