JaVale McGee, affectionately dubbed by the Crossover Chronicle writers as “JaVale the Fail Whale,” has moved away from the circus act that is the Washington Wizards. Last season he was traded to the Denver Nuggets for a chance to reinvent himself as a player and move past his series of hilariously epic failures (definitely watch the video if you are having a bad day).
Last year in the playoffs, McGee finally showed flashes of the player he could become if he applied himself. The effort did not go unnoticed by the Nuggets, who gave McGee a four-year, $44 million contract.
I don't think I've ever coached a guy like this,” said Nuggets head coach George Karl. “He has the moves of a 6-6 player.
Now begins McGee’s “second life.”
He has a chance to throw out the past and start fresh. If he goes on to have a great NBA career, we’ll all forget those years in Washington. Hakeem Olajuwon, one of the greatest NBA centers of all time, had a chance to work with McGee this offseason, and he sees a lot of potential.
No question, I see him as another star," Olajuwon said. "That guy should dominate the league. He has tremendous talent. I give him all these moves and he can finish and he's already skilled. So now just show him how to use that skill to (get) to the next level… The moves that we work on are not for a stiff big guy. With him he's agile. The move flows. So I'm excited to see what he's going to do this year.
The problem is that the talent was never in question. It was what is going on in his brain. McGee has made a number of decisions in his short NBA career that most would consider “boneheaded.”
Moving away from the Wizards and into a more stable environment in Denver should help, but people do not change overnight and we can surely expect some growing pains. I would expect we will see a few more mistakes from McGee this year worthy of SportsCenter’s Not Top 10, but overall I think the environment is perfect for him to finally right the ship.
If JaVale McGee is ready to put in the work, we could be looking at one of the NBA’s next big stars, but that’s really up to him.
Will JaVale McGee right the ship in Denver this year? Let us know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter by using the hashtag #NuggetsDay.