JaVale McGee. On the surface, that's not a name you expect a team struggling to find its form heading into the playoffs to be flirting with. In the video below, Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report mentions that the Raptors are among the teams interested in bringing in JaVale for the stretch run.
Here's what appears on YouTube when you type in JaVale McGee:
If you're an NBA player and the first video about you on YouTube is a damn blooper reel, I almost gain respect for you from that. JaVale's reputation is well-known at this point -- he's a freak athlete, he'll dunk, he'll rebound, but he'll do enough dumb things to be a net negative on the court.
A Bit of Background
McGee was traded from Washington to Denver in exchange for Nene at the 2012 Trade Deadline. He was in the last year of his rookie contract, and after a decent performance in the 2012 playoffs, he was awarded a four year, $44 million contract by the Nuggets. His GM at the time? Masai Ujiri. Since then, he's had an injury-ravaged pair of seasons, which led to him being shipped off WITH A PICK to Philadelphia, just to get him off Denver's books.
Do We Believe It?
Not to beat a dead horse, but the last time I heard Ric Bucher mention a Raptors-related rumour, this is what the end result was:
My deepest and sincere apologies. My report on Lowry and a S&T between the Raptors-Heat is wrong. I should've known better. I could not...— Ric Bucher (@RicBucher) June 27, 2014
I'm not saying he's wrong, or that it's untrue, especially given the fact that Masai traded for JaVale in the past, but just take it with a grain of salt and wait it out a little.
Do We Like It?
I don't think we should have a strong opinion on it. JaVale McGee rightly shouldn't be considered a franchise-altering piece, but in the right role, could he be productive? Sure! Maybe! Maybe not, but sure! McGee's problem isn't talent or even production. It's that he's often injured, and sometimes put in roles that don't suit him. It's an indictment of his game that he can't fit into a variety of roles, but this is a player who averaged nine points, ten rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes in the Nuggets' 2012 playoff run. He has a career TS% of 56%. In the 2012-13 season (79 game sample) for a 57-win team, he was a massive bench player, pumping out a net rating of +4.3 in 18 minutes/game.
Again, JaVale's highlight reel does him no favours, but he CAN be an effective player when healthy and engaged. Is that a risk worth taking 60 games into a season?
Let us know what you think!