The Curious Case Of JaVale McGee

Ceilings are based half on luck and half on decision-making.

Bill Walton‘s bad luck ended his career in the form of uncontrollable injuries. Isaiah Rider‘s decision-making ruined his. Walton and Rider, had they both the luck and the positive choices, could have done so much more in their NBA careers.

When you consider Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee, Rider might be a parallel case. Unlike Rider, McGee’s decision-making problems begin and end on the court, but in the same sense, it’s the only thing standing in his way from going from a middle-of-the-road NBA player to a star.

McGee’s size, length and skill can’t be replicated. When he throws down buckets that are part hook-shot and part dunk, you know he has that genetic luck factor locked down. And from that perspective and that one only, JaVale McGee has no ceiling.

Living in Phoenix, I don’t see much of McGee. One of my basketball-knowledgeable pals who has watched the Wizards quite a bit this season swore to me that the guy is a stud. I didn’t believe him. Still don’t know if I do. But when the Wizards visited the Suns a few weeks ago, I got a chance to see McGee in person.

At first, I couldn’t disagree with my friend. McGee’s athleticism and length make his shots unblockable, and his skill set isn’t all that raw. His natural instincts for hitting the glass and blocking shots are remarkable, though that’s easy to say when he can get his finger on any shot released within an eight-foot radius of where he’s standing. I witnessed him score 10 points, grab nine boards and block two shots in only 20 minutes.

[RELATED: Top 5 JaVale McGee Dunk Fails]

But McGee’s career has reached a fork in the road because of the other half of what contributes to a basketball player’s ceiling. Something about McGee is missing.