With the loss of Kosta Koufos and Iggy this off season, and with Danilo Gallinari out until as late as February, Denver’s personnel situation is heavily weakened compared to last year. Add to that, the fact that they lost one of the best coaches of all time and there are a lot of questions surrounding this team going into the season. For an easily excitable basketball fan like myself, the biggest question I have: “is JaVale McGee currently the most important player on this Denver Nuggets team?” He possesses such an interesting ‘skill’ set. With the defensive & athletic gifts to single-handedly alter the outcome of games, the Nuggets will need him more than ever to step into a bigger role this year and earn his $11mil pay check. But if you’ve watched him for more than 5mins of game time, it is obvious that he is the absolute definition of a wild card. I call him the most consistently erratic player in the league. If he is getting starter’s minutes on a regular basis, you can guarantee several jaw-dropping moments a game – just that sometimes they’re moments that leave you wondering “this guy gets PAID to do this for a living??”
Looking at the numbers, McGee led the league last year in blocks/36mins with 3.9. If he manages to tally upwards of 30mins a game next season, he will be in the hunt to lead the NBA in total blocks. Under Coach Karl last season, McGee played only 18.1mpg. The reason for this low number was never clear. McGee’s asthma and Denver’s altitude were thrown around as a reason for the minute cap, but more likely was Coach Karl’s dwindling patience with his inconsistent play, questionable effort, decision-making & foul trouble. Paying a player $44mil over 4yrs, and playing him 18 minutes a game just isn’t sustainable. For better or worse, new coach Brian Shaw will be obliged to give McGee more burn this year, giving him a chance to shine. JaVale is poised for a career year, and I can’t wait to watch it play out.
JaVale seems to be a genuinely good guy, who is loved by the Nuggets fan base and myself – it’s just that he’s ever so slightly insane. As a fan, there isn’t a more intriguing player to go and watch on a regular basis. I’m rooting for this guy to do well every night, to live up to his potential & carry this team to the playoffs. But at the same time, (a big) part of me wants to see JaVale do ‘JaVale’ things for pure comedy gold.
For a graphic representation of why I like to watch this guy play basketball, check out the search suggestions for him on YouTube
McGee is like a real-world Forrest Gump – A lovable buffoon with a big heart that everybody cheers for and wants to see succeed. I can just see him saying “My Momma always said my game is like a box of chocolates…ya never know what you’re gonna get”. Here’s to hoping that what we get is a monster season from the talented big man.