JaVale McGee has been an interesting character in the NBA. He has made us all laugh on Shaquille O’Neal’s Shaqtin-A-Fool and he has also made some great plays with his athleticism. Last year he did not get to show that athleticism off, as he was injured for a good portion of the time he was with the Nuggets last season. And when he made it on the court, he was not as effective as he hoped to be. McGee played only eleven minutes a game while averaging five points and three rebounds in 17 games played. He was traded at the trade deadline to the Philadelphia 76ers, but that trade was only a means to dump his contract, which was set to expire after the 2015-2016 season. The 76ers eventually bought McGee out after only six games played with them and there was some interest in him from the Boston Celtics. Unfortunately for McGee, the two sides could not come to an agreement on a deal and it seems as if McGee has been a big man that many have stayed away from. But when DeAndre Jordan was making his decision between the Mavericks and the Clippers, McGee’s name was brought up. First it was with the Clippers as a potential replacement for Jordan and now the Mavericks are speaking with him in regards to a new contract. But what is keeping McGee out of the NBA right now?
Besides the brain cramps he tends to have on the floor, McGee has had some problems staying healthy. In the last two seasons, he has only played in a total of 28 games due to various leg injuries. With him seeking a multi-year deal, there has to be some concern about him being able to hold up. Most teams are only interested in his services on potentially a one-year deal and the injuries are part of the reason that they are only interested in that. But due to the reported persistence on a multi-year deal with whomever he signs with, McGee is still unemployed. One of the main reasons McGee is reportedly looking for more than a one-year deal is because he wants to develop his game more. He wants to be a part of a team that will allow him to grow his game outside of just being a shot-blocker, finisher and rebounder. McGee feels that if he is able to showcase what he can be, he can be even better for whatever team that chooses him. But unfortunately, self-belief will only get you but so far. The reality is that McGee is a rebounder, shot-blocker and finisher at the rim. After so long in the NBA, it would be foolish for him to think he is going to develop a consistent offensive game that he has been missing his entire career. So even though he may feel he can be that consistent offensive force, he has to realize who he is and what he can do for a team that signs him.
Because of the injury-riddled last couple of seasons, McGee would do best to only sign a one-year deal with his next team. Instead of wanting two years to develop, he would be wise to play one season and play well. In a sense, he needs to bet on himself. If he comes through and has a good season, then he will be wanted by many a team that is out there. And with the salary cap going to a whole new level next season, McGee could be looking at a payday of around $15 million at least. At his best, he could potentially have the type of effect as DeAndre Jordan. Now of course there will still be the moments where he falls asleep at the wheel, but when he was focused in Denver while playing under coach George Karl, he looked the best he looked in his career. But let’s also take a look at the worse-case scenario. If McGee takes a one-year deal and does not produce, then he could be looking at his last chance to make some things happen in the NBA. Although he is big, athletic and mobile, he can also be a guy that can make you scratch your head. And if that aloof player shows up more than the focused McGee, then the team he signs with is going to have a guy that will continually show up on Shaqtin-A-Fool. The choice of McGee is a crucial one in his career. He is getting closer and closer to 30 with each passing day and this decision could make or break his career.
McGee is a solid, athletic big man when he is focused on the court. But too many times he has had moments that make you wonder whether he seriously wants to play in the NBA. JaVale can help some team, but it is all up to him whether he wants to roll the dice or hold out for a multi-year deal. That will be the big decision going forward for him. McGee could definitely help someone but he could also hurt them salary-cap wise too. The teams that are thinking about him have to ask themselves one question: do they think they can get the best out of him?