George Karl On JaVale McGee: “He Plays A Little Bit Like Kareem”

03.21.12 7 years ago

No, George Karl did not lose his mind. He believes it. JaVale McGee, despite his YouTube celebrity, reminds him a little bit of the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. McGee does have the shot-blocking numbers (2.4 a game) and the wingspan (7-6) to perhaps confuse a few people. He even has a semi-effective sky hook. But when you hear comments like this, Denver’s reasoning behind swapping their prized offseason signing (Nene) for McGee becomes quite clear.

Karl told The Denver Post about McGee:

“His length is very impressive. He’s long,” Karl said. “I think he plays a little bit like Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), but he’s a defensive Kareem more than an offensive Kareem. He’s not going to be a power player, but he’s going to be an athletic-length-long player.

McGee figures to take away someone of the Nuggets’ inside game – he’s not the post-up player Nene was – but will make them even more dangerous as a running team. The atmosphere in Denver is already abusive enough for opponents with Ty Lawson running the NBA’s No. 1 scoring offense. McGee’s speed and athleticism should only add to that.

On the other flip of the coin, Nene is now in Washington. While he hasn’t made an impression on the court as of yet, the Wizards’ fanbase is already happy with what they’re hearing from their new center.

In a story with The Washington Post, the Brazilian was very candid about the big man he’s replacing, saying “Man, his highlights the bomb on the internet right now. You know, he’s got more fans from highlights on the internet than in the game.”

That’s true. In NBA circles, McGee is just another potentially solid young player. But on places like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, he’s a God… at least, in the entertainment sense.

Even Nene has laughed at the former Wizard’s antics. Asked by the Post‘s Dan Steinberg about McGee’s infamous “running back a lil’ too quickly on D” play, Nene told him, “Probably if I do that I need to do drug test.”

Both players have question marks – McGee with his attitude and maturity, Nene with his knees and contract – but their swap could this deal into one of those rare win/win trades. The Wizards needed an anchor, and the Nuggets needed an athlete. But more than anything else, both organizations need a center they can count on.

Who will ultimately get the better of this trade?

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