#WizardsRank: JaVale McGee, No. 12: Forever Epic Vale
Truth About It.net will turn a whole five years old at the end of this October.
Hard to believe/interesting. Nonetheless, over the life of the site from the 2007-08 season to 2011-12, we’ve seen/lived/suffered through 131 wins, 263 losses, four coaches, two owners, one GM/team president, one Phil Chenier mustache removal, and 56 total players (amazingly, 48 players over the last three seasons).
You may have heard of ESPN’s #NBArank project, now in year two. Now hear of #WizardsRank, where we rank each of those 56 players during Truth About It.net’s five-year run. TAI anonymously polled 27 members of the Wizards pixel establishment — from mainstream media to new media, TAI staffers included, to a few pixel consumers (readers of the site) — and got 17 responses.
Participants were given the full list of 56 in alphabetical order, and included for each player were total games, minutes, PER (player efficiency rating), and WS/48 (win-shares per 48 minutes) only from the last five seasons. Participants were asked to rate each player on the scale of 1-to-10 according to this criteria: on court performance; off court performance; intangibles; and own personal memory. Yes, this is totally subjective, but relatively collective.
NOTE: #WizardsRank Nos. 56 to 13 have been posted and links can be found below. We are now releasing player rankings one at a time. -Kyle W.
5.47 out of 10
Do I want to write JaVale McGee’s #WizardsRank? Can’t say I do.
He burst on the scene in 2008 with athleticism to drool over. He was trained, coached, conditioned, and groomed by his WNBA mom. Sure, there were red flags after just two seasons at Nevada, but if there was ever a risk worthing taking with the 18th pick, it was JaVale McGee. Yea, he is still not better than over a dozen players from his class. But in many senses, he far exceeded the value of his draft position. (McGee is evidently equal to Nene, who has an #NBArank of 31, in trade value.)
Four years ago, putting him on a veteran team coached by Eddie Jordan seemed like a no brainer. He ended up being a no brainer. Where did it go wrong? Everywhere.
From tough-love elders like Coach Jordan, Brendan Haywood and Antawn Jamison, to the personalities of Gilbert Arenas and DeShawn Stevenson, to the other kids in the playpen—Nick Young and Andray Blatche—McGee entered the league a shell of an egg, with inner, misplaced confidence, and was rolled into a room full of hammers.
Randy Wittman, the enforcer as an assistant coach, showed McGee tough love. JaVale and Flip Saunders had their share of heated run-ins. Sam Cassell played good cop with mom. Did the Jordan to Tapscott to Saunders to Wittman regimes make McGee progressively worse, or were things with him at the point of no return from the start? Chances are that an overbearing mom growing up had more of a hand than four NBA coaches in three and two-thirds seasons from ages 21 to 24.
By the end, McGee was simply stubborn, and confused in thinking that’s an admirable trait. The basketball mistakes had been in him since a rookie, since before. He did learn over the years, some. But being thrust from second generation to first accelerated his ego, gave him a sense of entitlement, and magnified his misunderstanding of the game.
The ignorance on defense. The full court dribbling. The gunning for blocked shots. The terrible, terrible free throw shooting. It was all always there.
But so was the athleticism. The dunks, the swats, the gazelle-like ability to run the floor and jump like no one his size, ever. Visions of John and JaVale making a run-and-gun duo for years sparked in the ever lustful minds of Wizards fans — given the acquisition of a star power forward (ironically, one like Nene). Randy Wittman is preaching that his team will start fast break basketball with defense this year; what more ideal to do that than the physique of JaVale McGee?
McGee strove for improvement, he wants to be known for what he can do with a basketball, after all. But he also acted like every game was his individual chance for improvement.
He’s going to be in the league for several more years. He is going to be good, really good. And as JaVale matures, in all likelihood, his selfishness will decline, and he will understand his role in a team concept.
Chris Webber was 24, almost 25-years old when the Wizards sent him to the Sacramento Kings for Mitch Richmond, who was a month away from 33. McGee was barely 24 when the Wizards sent him to Denver for Nene, who turned 30 in September.
Will future hindsight be 20/20 on this one? Can’t say I know.
Kyle Weidie ][ @Truth_About_It
No. 56: Cedric Jackson; No. 55: Mike Bibby; No. 54: Paul Davis; No. 53: Edwin Ubiles; No. 52: Quinton Ross.
No. 51: Mike Wilks; No. 50: Mike Harris; No. 49: Javaris Crittenton; No. 48: Dee Brown; No. 47: Morris Almond.
No. 46: Larry Owens; No. 45: Mustafa Shakur; No. 44: Brian Cook; No. 43: Hamady N’diaye; No. 42: Rashard Lewis.
No. 41: Hilton Armstrong; No. 40: Oleksiy Pecherov; No. 39: Mike James; No. 38: Fabricio Oberto; No. 37: Ronny Turiaf.
No. 36: Lester Hudson; No. 35: Yi Jianlian; No. 34: Juan Dixon; No. 33: Josh Howard; No. 32: Chris Singleton.
No. 31: Al Thornton; No. 30: Shelvin Mack; No. 29: Mo Evans; No. 28: Mike Miller; No. 27: Alonzo Gee.
No. 26: Randy Foye; No. 25: Dominic McGuire; No. 24: Andray Blatche; No. 23: Earl Boykins; No. 22: Roger Mason.