How great has JaVale McGee been so far for the Lakers?

JaVale McGee

When NBA fans think of JaVale McGee, they don’t think of the insane athletic ability and the positive attitude that he brings to the court every night. Instead, fans always remember the various stupid decisions he has made on the floor over the years. Most of his notable moments have been encapsulated in Shaqtin’ A Fool during the course of his career.

It is easy to recall some of the moments in this video. For example, the moment when he ran back on defense while his team (the Washington Wizards at the time) was still on offense is still hilarious. His history of bad decisions and injuries almost cost him his NBA career. From 2013-2016, McGee only played in 62 games as he bounced around from Denver to Philadelphia to Dallas. Things weren’t looking good for the former Nevada star.

That is until the Golden State Warriors gave him a training camp invite during the 2016 off-season. He ended up being the final player to make the team and it was the best thing to happen for him. The Warriors gave him a situation where he could revitalize his career and they took a chance on McGee. That chance ended up paying huge dividends.

McGee ended up being a key contributor on a team that won back-to-back championships. In the opening round of both playoff runs, his presence at the rim impacted the offenses of the Blazers and Spurs. He even was the starting center during the NBA finals last season, a series that ended in a Warriors sweep. JaVale then, as we know, chose to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers this past off-season.

Now, the 30-year-old JaVale McGee is a part of a new-look regime in Los Angeles that also includes LeBron James, Lance Stephenson, and Rajon Rondo among others. While most of the Lakers roster has performed as expected, McGee has wildly exceeded expectations. In eight games, he’s averaging 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1 steal, and a league leading 3.3 blocks per game. He is also shooting above 60% from the field for the third consecutive season.

Being the starting center and getting to play a lot more minutes does play a part in JaVale’s early season production. He’s averaging just over 27 minutes per game which is his highest mark since the 2011-12 season. Not only has he been spectacular in the pick-and-roll, he’s also begun to take three pointers from time to time.

McGee has given the Lakers really good rim protection so far this season. He is the perfect center for a Lakers team that plays fast and likes to get out in transition. In addition to that, he creates a lot of extra possessions for the Lakers because of his height and athleticism on the offensive glass. In a league where the traditional center has become an afterthought, McGee is thriving.

JaVale McGee has become a fan favorite in Los Angeles due to his stellar play so far. There is now only one question to ask of him. Can he continue to produce these numbers throughout the season? It remains to be seen, but as of now he continues to be one of the best stories of this young NBA season. Hopefully, the Grinch won’t steal some of his points and rebounds during the holiday season.


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