JaVale McGee ponders life from the bench

AP Photo/DayLifeJaVale McGee.

The name has just caused comedy and violent shaking of the head. So much talent and physical ability seemingly put in someone that just has not realized what is necessary for team ball. Worse, he is on a team full of those types of players. Even though McGee has been a starter for just the last two seasons, McGee has been a disappointment.

This season, he has shown some of the defensive and physical gifts that make him such a promising prospect. But he has also shown some of the boneheaded plays and desire to find his individual statistics that seem to have him relegated forever to play on losing teams. It does not seem he will understand how to sublimate his own individual statistics and goals for the benefit of his team.

The latest comedy of errors for McGee — and there have been plenty this year for the struggling Wizards team that seems just full of me-first young guys who continue to develop horrible habits — has him wondering why coach Randy Wittman has sent him and Nick Young to the bench and taken away their starting positions.

McGee seems disheartened by his recent demotion instead of taking it as a sign that he needs to change the way he is playing to some extent, as he told Michael Lee of The Washington Post after Wednesday’s loss to the Magic (h/t Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog).

AP Photo/DayLifeQ: Would you have liked to have a chance to go out and play a little more tonight

McGee: I mean, I would like to have a chance to be on the floor, but I wasn’t, so I had to make [do] with what was given to me.

Q: Coach said he’s kind of talked to both you and Nick [Young] about coming off the bench this game. Do you understand what message he wants to send you guys with that?

McGee: Um. I can’t say I do. But I’m sure I’ll figure it out sooner or later.

Q: What has he told you? When you guys have talked, what has he said?

McGee: That’s between me and him.

It seems like there is still a disconnect between McGee and the Wizards staff. McGee is averaging 11.6 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game and 3.3 blocks per game. Those numbers look pretty decent. But then you see him make mental lapses. One moment he is holding his ground against Dwight Howard and using his incredible length to block his shots, the next he is taking some wild hook shot or getting bullied around in the post.

This is life as JaVale McGee.

His attitude, as evidenced in the quote above, is more of the problem than anything else.

McGee is still figuring out life in the NBA and is still figuring out how best to contribute to his team. In his career, his Wizards teams have a .267 win percentage. Washington is 7-28 on the year entering the weekend. This just is not a team seemingly going anywhere at the moment. Even if it bottoms out, it seems the attitude of guys like McGee and Young, the two guys sent to the bench, are rubbing off the wrong way on John Wall, the team’s top overall pick from last year.

Where does McGee go? He has to look inward and figure out what kind of player he wants to be. And whether that player is going to be one that helps his team.

Right now, the message that Wittman is sending, is that he is not that kind of player. The sooner he realizes that, the sooner he can begin to realize his potential.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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