- Denver, Co – For those of you who watched the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, one of the more creative slams in contest history occurred that evening. It involved a young, big man for the Wizards, who dunked two balls in two different hoops….at the same time…..it was very impressive, and showed off some amazing athletic skills. This somehwat anonymous player was JaVale McGee, who at the time was playing for Washington, so this was his only real chance to get on national TV in any way. People then began to take notice, and saw what a freakishly physical specimen he was. 7’0″, 252 lbs, and could jump out of the building. So why did the Wizards trade him to Denver a couple weeks ago? Potential…something that coaches and GM’s are rarely given time to develop. So he is now a Nugget, and all Denver fans should be excited about what he may become.
McGee played college ball at Nevada-Reno, and after just 2 seasons, declared himself for the NBA draft. Washington then selected him with the 18th overall pick in 2008. The Wizards would soon find out that JaVale had a ton of raw talent, but needed a lot of time to refine his game. Fast forward 3 years to 2011, and McGee was still making immature mistakes. In one game about a year ago, Washington was getting blown out, but JaVale was shooting over and over in the 4th quarter just so he could get to double figures. He ended the night with 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 blocked shots…..a triple double….a nice individual achievement, although his team lost by over 20 points. He also threw down a dunk late in that same game, and hung on the rim for an extended period of time. This was a red flag for Wizards management, as it signaled selfish behavior and turned off a lot of fans. Rumor has it Washington does have a somewhat toxic atmosphere, with several immature young players. It became evident that McGee needed a change of scenery, and a fresh start to his NBA career. A deal was made, Nene was gone, and JaVale was on his way to become a Denver Nugget.
Although JaVale McGee has just a few games under his belt as a Nugget, he has already made fans take notice. His rebound and dunk to beat Detroit woke up the locals and made everyone aware of what this guy can do. His offensive game still leaves a lot to be desired, but he is only 24 and really wasn’t brought here to score anyway. His shot blocking ability and energy have already surfaced, as it is obvious opponents are a tad skittish driving to the hoop when McGee is in the game. How good can the newest Nugget end up being? He has all the tools to be a great player. With a little maturity and dedication to get better, JaVale McGee could soon become a big time fan favorite.