Amar’e Stoudemire wasn’t the only trainee sent out to locate Hakeem Olajuwon this summer. JaVale McGee was as well. The two current NBA players spent about two weeks together learning how to make people look stupid in the post from the guy who served out more embarrassing big man whoppings than just about anyone in NBA history.
When we first posted video of STAT and the Dream together, it took us a minute to realize, “Hey, wait a second. Is that JaVale McGee in there?” Sure enough it was. And over the course of their time together, McGee somehow turned Hakeem into his second-biggest fan (Behind his mother of course. Do you remember this?).
No question, I see him as another star,” Olajuwon said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. “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.”
Last year in 20 games with the Nuggets, McGee’s numbers were very pedestrian: 10.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a night. But in the playoffs against the Lakers vaunted frontline, he showed the potential he has once you get by the running-the-wrong-way, eating-cinnamon antics. In Game 3, he had 16 and 15 in just 28 minutes. In Game 5, he missed three shots on the way to 21 points and 14 rebounds. Even in the Game 7 loss that ended Denver’s season, the seven footer had 14 more boards and blocked five shots. At times, he made Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol look life stiffs. He impressed Denver enough that they gave him a four-year deal for $44 million this summer.
Olajuwon maintains his work is designed for agile big men, and McGee, whatever else you say about him, is definitely athletic enough for the Dream.
Kobe, LeBron and Dwight Howard all spent time with Olajuwon in previous summers. McGee might not get to that level, but if he can live up to that new contract with a lil’ help from a Rocket legend, then Denver is going to be very dangerous this year.
Do you agree?
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