The Position of JaVale McGee | Wizards Blog Truth About

The Position of JaVale McGee

Updated: March 2, 2009

JaVale McGee can stretch with the best of them - flickr/Keith AllisonThere’s a developing conundrum on how exactly JaVale McGee should be used in the Wizards offensive/defensive schemes.

As Wizards TV personalities Phil Chenier and Steve Buckhantz have commented on numerous occasions throughout the season, there has been a drastic increase in alley-oops from the Wizards, perhaps more than the past several seasons combined.

You have young JaVale McGee to thank. The kid’s ability to run like a gazelle on the break and sky above everyone else is an invaluable tool that must be used to the Wizards’ advantage.

But there’s the catch, using McGee in such a manner means that at times he’ll be susceptible to sneaking out on the break before the defensive rebound is secured. If you’ve got a guy on the court who’s 7’1″ in socks, you want him hitting the defensive boards hard, right?

So is McGee better suited to play the high post on offense?

Right now, he doesn’t have much of a block post game to speak of — not enough weight on his frame. He seems to have nice touch on mini-hooks, long jumpers, and lengthy drives to the hoop, yet for some reason has trouble with shooting touch from the charity stripe.

As mentioned, you obviously want JaVale to use his helicopter arms to secure boards, and he’d be great patrolling the outskirts of the paint, skying over everyone for mid-range rebounds, while still being in relative position to take off on the break.

Knowing his physique, McGee, and the team defense, would be best suited with him playing alongside a low-post banger on both ends of the court. Brendan Haywood comes to mind as the only viable option in this regard. A lineup with Haywood at the five and McGee at the four would surely intimidate. Unfortunately, neither quite has the lateral movement to be able to keep up with your prototypical NBA four on defense.

Hopefully the next Wizards coach will not only take advantage of McGee’s quickness with a running game plan, as should be the case with how the team is constructed anyway, but will also sufficiently condition the kid to rebound then run.

If McGee can develop into an interchangeable 4 or 5 depending on the game situation, he’ll see plenty of time on the court and the Phone Booth will be continuously abuzz with the possibility of a monster game-changing throw-down.

Wizards Link Drop:

[Washington Times]
After each of their wins — which have come with great infrequency — the Wizards (14-45) have talked about the importance of building on positives. But instead of putting forth the balanced, well-executed show required, they instead take steps backward and come away wondering how they failed to sustain quality play.

[Wizards Insider]
Bucks rookie Luc Mbah a Moute really got into Caron Butler early at the defensive end. I like that guy’s future as a stopper in this league.

[We Love DC Obama Watch]
The best moment of the night came when the Wizards took the Bulls on a 12-0 run, and surrounding DC fans started playfully heckling Obama making the timeout “t” in his direction to suggest that the Bulls needed a timeout. Obama, equally playful, wagged his finger back at them saying “not yet” only to have the Chicago coach immediately call a TO.

[photo source: flickr/Keith Allison]

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.