Yes, JaVale McGee is young. Last month he turned 23 – happy belated birthday JaVale. He is also still trying to adjust to being a starting Center in the NBA. And in this particular game he was squaring off with one of the games best, the grizzled 26 year old veteran, Dwight Howard.
Playing fairly sparingly (16:59), JaVale managed 2 points on 1-5 from the field. A few of those shots were of the very low percentage variety – off-balanced and fading away from the basket. Given his shot selection, it is not a surprise that he did not manage to get to the line. He also finished with 1 rebound, 1 blocked shot and 3 personal fouls. And as his +/- indicates (-7), it was clearly not one of JaVale’s most productive games. Dwight Howard finished with a fairly pedestrian – for him – 22 points and 15 rebounds.
And while it is expected that he will struggle at times during this phase in his career, JaVale, however, has to minimize the self-inflicted wounds. The classic example in this game was after JaVale secured a loose ball, rather than make the safe play of passing to a guard. JaVale – as he often tries at least once a game – attempted to bring the ball up court. And what seems to occur on nearly 4 out of every 5 attempts – the play ends in disaster. Rather than having an opportunity for putting points on the board, JaVale ended the play by kicking the ball out of bounds.
What I found most interesting is how his teammates reacted. Let’s check the video.
Almost in unison the players on the Wizards bench immediately “put hand to face.” And what was Flip’s reaction? He tried to immediately pull JaVale from the game, but the refs kept him from doing it as quickly as he wanted. JaVale is going to struggle as he learns the game at this level, but he cannot continue to make plays that lose the team possessions. This team is not yet talented enough to overcome mistakes, let alone mistakes that can be avoided.
But for a Jon Stewart-like “moment of zen” there was this:
I wonder if Trevor Booker is beginning to grow on those who didn’t like his selection following the draft?