The Continued JaVale McGee Learning Experience | Wizards Blog Truth About

The Continued JaVale McGee Learning Experience

Updated: March 8, 2011

On Sunday against the Detroit Pistons JaVale McGee had just two rebounds, both defensive, in over 30 minutes of play. He also contributed 12 points on 5-6 shooting (2-4 from the free-throw line), three blocks, a steal, an assist and a single foul to his stat line.

The rebounding? McGee lacked a lot of energy in the early going and simply wasn’t able to contribute past a couple flailing attempts at the ball. The Detroit big men – Greg Monroe, Chris Wilcox, Jason Maxiell and Charlie Villanueva — also seemed intent (or instructed) to be as physical as possible with McGee at every opportunity. And so goes the scouting report for JaVale: run with him, dissuade his athleticism with physicality, and either pump fake him or go into his body rendering him unable to block a shot. His effort changed in the third quarter, but the Wizards still lost to the Pistons 113-102, and the goal with McGee, as it is with the inexperienced Wizards as a whole, is a complete work of gamesmanship art. NBA players don’t get paid part-time.

McGee’s grinding progress continues to provide frequent repetitive mistakes. It’s no secret how other teams, coaches and players treat him in their preparation (and how that affects his game), and it’s no secret that McGee will sometimes make plenty of his gaffes on his own. Will he learn through continued frustration from fans, teammates and coaches? That’s up to him, but there are two abundant factors working in his favor: his franchise’s presence in rebuilding mode and plenty of playing time chances. Taking advantage, however, seemingly hasn’t always been a prevalent function of McGee’s basketball thought process.

Nonetheless, we plod on. The below video breaks down instances of the 23-year old center against the Pistons on Sunday … The Continued JaVale McGee Learning Experience. As Flip Saunders and the Wizards coaching staff continues to pound the stubborn rock sheltering McGee’s cerebral willingness, the familiarity of the lessons remains consistent.

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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 lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.

  • poppalaw

    Could you imagine McGee playing for Bobby Knight? He would literally strangle him or make him a much better player. I don’t know how he learns – he has so much physical ability – but he needs to learn or be moved to a positon that allows him to be who he is. I bet he would love to play small forward. And, why couldn’t he, he is as fast as most SFs, his lateral speed can be covered up by his size and he can shoot the ball. Of course I am not recommending it. He needs to be a center. He could be very good if he can learn but I seriously wonder if he will.

  • JaVale McGee is fun and frustrating to watch. He’ll put it together though, he has all the tools.

  • NotBlind

    “He’ll put it together though, he has all the tools.”

    Seems to me he’s missing the most important tool of all: understanding of what he needs to do to help the team (as opposed to only himself).

  • fishercob

    It’s painful to watch, but this is what it looks like to develop a project. However, Javale is indeed developing.

    1) His advanced metrics — shooting and rebounding specifically — are up accross the board this year from last.

    2) His first three seasons compare favorably with those of Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby — perhaps the two best “skinny 5’s” in the NBA, and elite role players.

    It’s not pretty with Javale, but it’s waaaaay to early to give up on him.

  • Ggun

    Really enjoyed this. Even when a video is of another player, Blatche’s lazy defense is exposed. McGee is improving – working hard every game, but occasionally losing focus. He is going to be an excellent piece of the Wall, next year’s pick team of the future. There are no other great young center. Got to love his energy and that he tries. Blatche is the anti-McGee. Never focuses, never tries.

  • Joe K

    Poppalaw. I totally agree. He has potential, physically and athletically, but the question is can he use his brains and mature mentally?

    I really don’t know. I’m starting to think no. I will give him 1-2 years, and if there is not substancial improvement (meaning a double double every game and showing maturity) he is not worth the investment and send him away.

    He needs to gain about 20 pounds and MATURE. He needs to get into a classroom, cool down, and learn some stuff. Sheez, there is little though in how he plays. Very little.

    I am sure that is not what loyal fans of the Wizards want to do, but it they have to they should.

  • szr

    I agree with fishercob on McGee. His rebounding and shooting efficiency are actually above average for starting centers in the NBA. Yes, he does sometimes make bone-headed plays, but that’s okay.

    And if he develops into a Camby (perhaps the most underrated player in recent NBA history) I would be more than fine with that. Let someone else hog the headlines, while McGee does the things it takes to win.

  • Jas

    @ szr, too bad Mcgee isnt the kind of player that would do the things it takes to WIN, ala Booker. Its not cause he doesn’t want to. its just hes not smart at all. He has no concept what so ever about the fundamentals of basketball nor does he have any kind of bball IQ. Its below zero. I love his effort, but it doesnt cover up that hes the NBA village i…t