For all the colorful players that have come through Washington in recent years, none wears the title of knucklehead better than JaVale McGee does. There are scores of YouTube videos depicting the big man's ill-advised forays with the basketball and his own random comments about who knows what. NBA analysts have also piled on. Everything together has led to, well, JaVale, you tell us.
“People around the NBA really think that I’m dumb or stupid,” McGee told NBA.com. “But people that know me know that I’m actually very intelligent. It doesn’t affect me at all.”
Intelligence can come out in many different ways. Apparently former Denver coach George Karl didn't recognize it from a basketball standpoint seeing as he played the ex-Wizard only 18.1 minutes per game last season even after the Nuggets signed the agile 7-foot center to $44 million extension. According to reports, Karl's limited use of McGee had at least some part in management firing the longtime coach, who was named 2013 NBA Coach of the Year. In 79 games, McGee averaged 9.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and was among the league leaders with 2.0 blocks.
Former Pacers and Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw replaced Karl in Denver and overtakes what isn't exactly a rebuild, but is certainly a new looking roster. Along with Karl, the Nuggets no longer have Olympian Andre Iguodola, who signed a hefty free agent deal with Golden State, or key reserve Corey Brewer. Point guard and D.C. area native Ty Lawson is still around to the run the offense. Energy forward Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari man the frontcourt while free agent Nate Robinson joins Lawson and fellow guard Andre Miller.
The group should be formidable on many nights, but No. 3 seed formidable for a second straight season,we'll see. If the Nuggets are to maintain top-4 status in the West, they'll need McGee to finally, finally turn promise into production. The former first round pick claims he's ready.
"There’s a lot of things that haven’t even been [brought out] of my game that people haven’t even seen," McGee said. "So I just feel like this is going to be the season.”
When it came time to determine the top-10 games of interest on the Wizards 2013-14 schedule, Denver's visit on December 9 did not make the cut. With the franchise and fan base looking toward a playoff push, there is less desire to look back at the recent suffering, especially anything involving McGee and Andray Blatche. Still, there is something about watching McGee in action that's worth one's time. Simply because we never knows what's coming next. This upcoming season appears no exception.