JaVale McGee & A Muppet Imitate Flip Saunders
Evidently while in New York to face the Knicks in the Wizards’ final road game of the year, JaVale McGee stopped by FAO Schwarz to go shopping for some toys. We know this because he Tweeted it and shared the above pic of himself and a stuffed acquisition resembling his likeness … in Muppet form.
I could totally see JaVale trying to recreate that piano scene from Big while he was there … if he even remembers that movie. It came out the year he was born, 1988.
But the imaginary fun doesn’t end there. Cue the genius of the WizzNutzz in Tweet form …
At times, many times, JaVale McGee shoots the ball every time he touches it is a fact not lost upon most Wizards fans. I covered it extensively in an April 4th post, The Catch-22 of JaVale McGee. The best part is in a video interview, McGee is specifically asked about balancing patience on the offensive end. He answers the question by saying, “In my mind, I’m just, if I get the ball one on one, I feel like drive, drive, drive and get as close to the hole as possible and it’s either going to be a foul or a dunk.” So, he didn’t really answer the question at all.
More recently, after the win against the Warriors, the topic of McGee’s shot happy nature came up in Flip Saunders’ press conference. After praising McGee for his recent hustle, also outlining that taking him out of the starting lineup has helped him avoid opponents going after him immediately, causing the second year player to pick up quick fouls, and that it has also helped him better channel his effort while dealing with asthma, Saunders said:
“He’s got to learn how to, eventually, that when he takes a 15-foot shot and misses he’s coming out. And when he dribbles the ball from one end to another, he’s coming out of the game. He’s going to figure that out eventually. I don’t know how soon, but eventually he’ll get it figured out … at least I know that’s going to happen, so I hope he does (smiling).”
McGee, through his actions, doesn’t always seem like he’s willing to change, i.e., he’s making his learning curve tougher than it should be by repeating the same actions. As you can imagine, he pulled some crazy shots from a place where the sun don’t shine against the Atlanta Hawks this past Saturday (pictures below).
After the game, I asked Saunders about this … again, but especially in terms of how it contributes to his frustration level as a coach. Flip said:
“There’s always frustration because you hope that eventually it kicks in and they understand things. JaVale, one, he’s gotten to the point where he’s playing with a sustained amount of energy in the period of time that he’s on the floor. Now he’s got to learn to become more disciplined. I told him at halftime, in our last 10-12 games he’s had two assists. In the last 30 games he’s had like five. As a big man, you’ve got to pass the ball some. You can’t try to score every time you touch it.
What happens is your perimeter guys stop cutting, they stop moving and eventually they’ll stop passing you the ball because they won’t get it back. So I’m trying to explain to him too … players, the only way they’re really going to learn is you keep on talking to them. If there’s a few times they keep on doing it, it’s playing time. Take them out and explain to them what they did wrong, why they did it, why they’re out, and let them look at it for a couple minutes and then get them back in the game.
In his situation, sometimes he does that because I think he gets tired. Sometimes he just doesn’t understand. So we’re just trying to work with him.
Note: In the 23 games McGee has played in since the beginning of March, he’s tallied five total assists. In 58 games and 912 minutes on the season, JaVale has 13 assists. That’s 0.2 per game and 0.5 per 36 minutes.
Lately, McGee has shown a ton of promise that Wizards fans should be proud of. But until he checks his ego and stops taking so many selfish shots, learning that passing and ball movement better benefits the team, fans will just have to accept the good and bad of the kid and hope that he’ll eventually change.
On Saturday I switched places with the usual TAI photographer, Adam Douglas, and sat baseline for a really cool up-close view of the action. I’ll be getting some pics from the Wizards-Hawks match-up posted in time, but until then, here’s some I caught of JaVale McGee.
McGee’s crazy attempt to split Josh Smith and Al Horford:
Doesn’t seem like the shot you usually want your center taking, an under-handed scoop on the run:
Post feed from Mike Miller:
Making the move against Zaza Pachulia:
Um … not a lot balance here:
Nope, not a good attempt. Not sure yelling in Zaza’s face helps either:
The young fella leaves himself dejected:
JaVale jumps to avoid Mo Evans’ dunk:
McGee misses Mo Evans again:
JaVale doing something funny:
McGee in the process of performing one of this other favorite activities, leaving his feet on a pump fake:
This can’t end well …
If you can’t block ’em, sit on ’em …
McGee doesn’t always seem to have the highest interest level when he’s out of the game and on the bench:
A work in progress …