The other night on Twitter, @nevaRWilliams posed a simple question to Gotty, David, AJ and myself. Through all the madness that was the 2011-2012 season, could JaVale McGee really be one of the top 10 storylines? My answer stood as an undoubted yes. Look, we’ve all been there before. The laughing at JaVale for his seemingly lack of comprehension on the court at times. It’s fun, but beneath the unintentional comedy that is his game, there lies the fact buddy has the potential to be blossom into one of the league’s finest big men*. His vertical for a man his size is foolish and a wingspan that stretches further than 7’6″ is something any team would love to have pending the runner up in the 2011 Dunk Contest ever brings his game and mental approach in unison.
Following his breakout series against the Lakers (he’s been more than impressive in their two wins with a coming of age-like performance in Game 5), now seems about as good a time as ever to bring this to the attention of the masses. Last month, Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins crafted a brilliant piece about McGee breaking down his story from birth (his mother damn near went through with an abortion) all the way to the present day. Instead of breaking down his blunders in Washington – an organization who cannot seem to flourish on the sunny side of functional – Jenkins paints the picture of a player with so much untapped potential his ceiling hasn’t even been defined yet.
Without giving away too much of what Jenkins illustrates, giving the piece a read on your lunch break, riding the bus or enjoying a day off is a must. Even on the Wizards, everyone in D.C. was aware JaVale was a talent. He simply needed guidance, which he is apparently receiving in Denver. And who knows, the Nuggets season could very well end tonight in Game 6. Regardless, the events of the last two months of JaVale’s career could mark the transition from consistent comedic relief to a player ready to cash in on the talent he showcases on occasion. Then again, he is nearing a contract year, so whether his emergence is a sign of things to come or a mere flash in the pan is something we’ll all have to wait and see – the running theme of JaVale’s career thus far.
* – No, this isn’t saying he’ll ever be the league’s best at his position. If he can, however, consistently give a team 15-10 (and maybe 2 blocks) on a nightly basis, then, well, you know.
Update: Thanks to Trackstar for pointing this out. That ball JaVale hurled into the Staples Center stands after being interviewed by the fashion gawd, Craig Sager, actually landed right in his mother’s hands. The McGees are quickly moving right up the ladder of my favorite American families.