The Wizards Said WHAT? The JaVale McGee’s Mommy Edition | Truth About It.net

The Wizards Said WHAT? The JaVale McGee’s Mommy Edition

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Updated: January 20, 2012

[Mike Wise and Pam McGee - photo: K. Weidie]

When the basis for an article is interviewing a mom about her son, you know what’s bound to happen: irrationality entrenched in unconditional love. No big deal, it’s to be expected. But when the Washington Post’s Mike Wise loads his pen with the ink of JaVale McGee’s mom, Pamela, talking about her son: a media firestorm fueled by irrationality. Oh what, if anything, will Ted Leonsis’ blogging fingers say about these maternally induced pixels, seeing that through the conduit of Wise, Pamela calls out his coach and his franchise? The Wizards may wind up miffed because of Wise’s article, but they certainly can’t be surprised. Difficulties with JaVale McGee’s mom — the “Little League parent,” Wise calls her — are well-known throughout the organization.

She calls out Flip Saunders for “throwing JaVale under the bus” in criticizing his recent backboard dunk, a feat she says was done to “break up to monotony” of losing. (Does she realize how much Saunders bites the bullet to defend McGee already?) We also know that Flip didn’t even take McGee out of the game because of that dunk against Houston. He played the next five minutes of the third quarter and about the first three minutes of the fourth… before getting the hook for completely losing track of Jordan Hill for a points and then subsequently shooting a bad jumper.

Pamela McGee also claims, “They aren’t running any plays for him. With a 7-footer with hands like that, the kid is averaging a double-double without plays run for him; he gets those points off garbage.”

False. And a clear indication that her basketball sense is blinded by self-interest, also perhaps a window into the overall flaws of McGee’s game (lack of awareness, inability to score “garbage point” free-throws). Let’s go to mySynergySports.com for the evidence:

Last season McGee played 2,175 minutes. During those minutes, he was involved in 184 Post-Up plays that ended in a field-goal attempt, a turnover or a trip to the free-throw line. Essentially, this means McGee got more than three post-up opportunities per 36 minutes of action. This season McGee has played 411 minutes and has been involved in 72 Post-Up plays according to Synergy. This amounts to 6.3 post-up opportunities per 36 minutes. The Wizards have more than doubled the looks they give McGee in the post this season… But Flip Saunders isn’t running plays for him?

[Side Stat: And on Spot-Up plays? [Read: Jumpers] — McGee is averaging 1.3 Spot-Up plays per 36 minutes this season. Last season he averaged 0.78 Spot-Ups per 36… So a 69-percent increase in those “opportunities” since last season.]

Pamela criticizes her son’s playing time as well, more specifically, sporatic minutes… As if Flip Saunders shouldn’t penalize McGee for making the same stupid mistakes or selfish play they’ve instructed him on before. What kind of example does that set? Is she aware that there are other players on the team aside from her son? Wise’s article notes: “The club cites the Elias Sports Bureau in saying McGee averages the ninth-most minutes among NBA centers with 10 starts.”

The one valid point Pam McGee makes is the lack of investment the team has put into his development. But it’s not just him, there seems to be an issue with player development system-wide. I’ve always been under the impression that Gene Banks was the Wizards assistant coach responsible for developing bigs. According to Wise’s article, it’s former WNBA head coach Don Zierden. Either way, neither coach has the pedigree. Still, McGee gets what he puts in. In the video below, shot by TAI’s John Converse Townsend at Wizards Training Camp this season, Andray Blatche and Kevin Seraphin get in extra post work against each other after practice, while McGee tools around, alone, shooting jumpers and lazy hook shots. Perhaps not a complete window, but a whiff of the air nonetheless.

He’s a quick learner, according to UCLA assistant coach Scott Garson, who worked with McGee over the summer, which was paid for by the McGees according to Wise’s article. If that’s the case — and I do believe it could be  – wouldn’t McGee also be served by putting in more quality work within the Wizards system? It certainly couldn’t hurt, unless McGee’s camp is resigned to not using the tools at their behest, even if the resume regarding Washington’s development of big men is less than stellar. There aren’t any esoteric secrets to scoring on the low-block.  Its instruction isn’t reserved for NBA legends. And Garson? His bio on UCLABruins.com reads: “Garson handles the development of the perimeter players, working on both the offensive and defensive ends. He worked with the post players in 2006-07.” It does mention that Garson helped develop Andrew Bogut at the University of Utah as a member of then-coach Rick Majerus’ staff. Still, Garson was a guard when he played at Washington University in St. Louis, and JaVale McGee is no Andrew Bogut.

There shouldn’t be much issue with McGee’s mom taking all credit for his development. It’s actually very telling. After all, Pam, a former college all-American and WNBA player, was JaVale’s AAU coach, Wise reports.  And lest we forget a past Deadspin post titled, “JaVale McGee Has NBA Upside, Says Mommy” — Pam wrote a glowing draft profile for her baby boy on MyNBADraft.com. Touting her son up beyond reason is a natural, although creeping into conceited within this particular environment.  Problem is, Pam’s son is supposed to be a paid professional, not a kiddo she drops off at daycare.

Pam McGee’s ulitmate contention: the  Washington Wizards are keeping JaVale from growing. But exactly what does babying him do? Maybe the answer is for mom to shut her mouth and let the professionals do the work. But we all know that’s not going to happen, naturally.


  • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com JT’s Hoops Blog

    What do you expect? She’s the guy mother. I wish I had a mother like that. My mom does the complete opposite. Actually people tell her how much of a good son I am to her all the time, but it goes on deaf ears. God I HATE THAT WOMAN.

  • http://www.truthaboutit.net/ Kyle Weidie

    Yea, but does your mom, or most moms, undermine the work of your employer by talking to the local newspaper opinion columnist?

    On the other hand, the NBA is more unique that ‘regular lives’ … so she was certianly more in her right to do so.

    On the other, other hand, being a mother does not absolve someone from dumb, misplaced assessments.

    Thus, it is also might right to make note of such on this here website.

    Otherwise, call your mother and tell her that you love her… she only wants the best for you, right?

  • ftt

    mcgee’s mom has always rubbed me the wrong way. The way she tries to put herself back in the spotlight even though it’s her son’s career. This isn’t the first time. Its just weird for someone’s parent to be that visible in their full-grown child’s career.

  • http://truthaboutit.net Rashad Mobley

    There’s nothing wrong with what Pam McGee said. The real question is why the hell is Mike Wise going there for a story? Why would a editor even approve that story?

  • http://www.truthaboutit.net/ Kyle Weidie

    The answer to your question is simple, Rashad…

    Because McGee is a polarizing character and a very unique talent.

    Because Mike Wise has a radio show.

    Because he knew the piece, as it was structured, would garner a lot of attention.

    In other wise, likely in the minds of his editors, he was doing his job to attract attention to pixels.

    Now, was he being earnest in said piece… Will we ever know?

  • James

    I’ve been watching JaVale’s career with Washington since he was drafted. His game is as weak as the excuses his mom makes for him.

    This…supposed professional athlete…(1)needs to put on 25lbs of muscle so he doesn’t get bullied in the paint. Rebounding position? He couldn’t hold his position even if he wanted to. (2) Play smart. Why all the goaltending? This isn’t the 80′s…you’re not Patrick Ewing. (3) Grow a set and play like the beast you SAY that you are. Oh…you think you can score? DO IT and shut the eff up.

    Talk is cheap. Put in the work…find a “Big” coach…and stop with the talk. Do you think that MAYBE someone at G-Town knows how to contact Patrick Ewing? Stop blaming everyone else and just get it done. You’re wasting everyone’s time.

    …Overpaid a-hole. Tough love bitch.

  • larry smith

    You go girl!! I agree with Pam. The wizards organization, and coaches suck’s.

  • elvena

    Excellent piece, Kyle.

    I feel embarrassed (and a bit sorry) for JaVale. Mom certainly isn’t helping him grow up or get a big contract

  • Incandescent Rex

    I agree with your post Kyle. Vale’s Mom was a legit subject for a story IMO. She’s publicly criticized the organization’s treatment of McGee in the past regarding his playing time and she did provided a lot of behind the scenes info that is of interest to Wiz fans. She just needs to realize that her making excuses for Vale’s actions and blaming management are hurting his image, not helping. Cut the apron strings!

  • Dave

    Elvena, rest assured that Javale’s contract will be at least 10 million a year. Then, he will regress.

  • http://www.truthaboutit.net/ Kyle Weidie

    I also would like to reiterate something I’ve said before: although a knucklehead, I do not necessarily think the Wizards should ever trade JaVale. Around the right power forward and a better culture, his antics would be held much more in check. He would be accountable… And then he would shine more in tune with his athletic potential.