JaVale McGee, decent fellow. One day his basketball instinct will develop. It feels inevitable. But for now, you must relent to him only really getting by on his unimaginable athleticism, not his basketball brain power … although, that has made strides as well. Just slow, stubborn strides.
By now you’ve heard the hilariously earnest commentary about JaVale McGee from Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers:
“He potentially could be a really good player. I think he got to go to school a little bit more. He’s got to work on that IQ a little bit. He got to watch more tape. I don’t think he watches tape. I think he plays video games. I do. I don’t think he watches tape. I think he plays video games and I think he could possibly have an Atari. He should upgrade to a Play Station. Possibly Atari. He could potentially become a force, if, if he wants to. But if he doesn’t, he can continue to play Atari.”
McGee’s response via @MrMichaelLee was predictable:
“I don’t really care what people say. I know what I do, so it doesn’t affect me”
Artest is now a savvy, calculated veteran now. He used to be stupid, very stupid. More stupid than Gilbert Arenas and gun pranks stupid. Been there, done that … from Queensbridge and back.
But Ron-Ron’s opinion now holds considerable weight, and McGee should acknowledge that, perhaps be introspective and consider the fact that no one from the bottom to the top of the entire Monumental Sports & Entertainment organization will deny that while McGee has immense talent, he has not put in enough work to limit the same mistakes that he continues to make over and over.
Artest probably doesn’t know how much game tape watching and studying that McGee actually does, but JaVale is scouted by other teams, including the world champion Lakers — scouting reports Artest likely pays attention to, scouting reports that probably make it easy for another NBA player to deduce that McGee doesn’t have much of a clue.
“Media loves starting confrontation…. That’s all lol …. P.s. Just signed with peak waiting on my shoe to come thru so I can jump higher” -@bigdaddywookie
Jump higher? Wow. “Lol”
You think those shoes will help recognize the proper time to provide help-side defense? Or perhaps they will provide the ability to set a good screen for a teammate at a bare minimum?
“One of the main things too, [Nick Young] scored a lot, but I thought Seraphin got him open a lot with some screens, as did Book a few times. That’s the one thing we gotta work on JaVale with, his ability to get people open as far as on screens.” -Flip Saunders, Dec. 14, 2010
Booker and Seraphin are rookies. Before being drafted, Seraphin only played five seasons of organized basketball. On the other hand, McGee is in his third NBA season and grew up with a mother who played professional ball in the WNBA and abroad. Where are McGee’s basic fundamentals? Or is it all too clear that he mostly cares about style while remaining apathetic toward the substance of unselfish play. Setting a good screen is a simple, unselfish act. McGee can’t even do that right.
And wait … did McGee say confrontation? One player made an honest, goofy assessment about another player and word inevitably got out. Maybe feelings were hurt. Maybe someone needs a hug. But there’s only comedy in Artest’s words, not so much controversial confrontation.
McGee has done a lot of absurd things off the court which make it easy to draw conclusions of why he is such a mentally frustrating player on the court.
Another recent delve in that realm comes courtesy of JaVale via Twitter. Who would’ve thunk?
“at least im known as the guy who missed a dunk that no one is brave enough to try and not the guy that has a sextape out lol” -@bigdaddywookie
A) Not sure who has a sex tape right now, could be anyone. Doesn’t matter. B) How does the line from a free-throw distance dunk attempt at the end of a 25-point blowout loss to the Kings to “bravery” get drawn? McGee’s concept of bravery seems more akin to a kid running with scissors through a shopping mall the week before Christmas.
Want more examples?
Well, there was that time McGee Tweeted this:
“Reporters who never played the game of basketball or never succeeded in it… Shouldn’t b able to report on it #FACT”
What about the time Twitter user @G_Dubble wrote the following?
“@bigdaddywookie f*ck substance either deal wit the style or trade me ya feeel me ? n im a wizards fan but i hate seein u only gettin 20 mins”
And how did Mr. McGee respond on Twitter?
“@G_Dubble wow nicely said”
Please allow me to counter with:
We all have a lot to learn about a lot of things. I’m no more qualified to judge than the next person … as someone a mere 30-years in age, I certainly am aware of my shortcomings, or at least I try to be. I’m not trying to start “confrontation” or overly criticize/demean one with talents such as McGee’s.
But I do have my own observations from watching countless Wizards games. I do have the words of Ron Artest, whatever they mean. I do see the Wizards coaching staff — Sam Cassell, Randy Whitman, Flip Saunders — perpetually shaking their heads from side to side in reaction to McGee’s basketball ineptitude. And I do have typing fingers and a blog. McGee will eventually “get it”, but until then, I’m more than comfortable with writing the following:
JaVale McGee, it’s time to cut the bullshit and grow up. #FACT