Why the Denver Nuggets Would Be Crazy to Bring JaVale McGee Off the Bench

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 30, 2012

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 15:  JaVale McGee #34 of the Denver Nuggets heads up court against the Golden State Warriors during preseason action at the Pepsi Center on October 15, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 104-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

There are few teams entering the 2012-13 NBA regular season that have internal expectations as high the Denver Nuggets.

With a significant amount of talent and depth, the Nuggets appear to be prime candidates to emerge as a surprise contender in the Western Conference.


Over the past nine seasons, the Nuggets have made eight first-round postseason exits. Due to this fact, the burden of success is that much heavier.

In order for the Nuggets to achieve said success, the team must maximize the talent they possess. From the recently acquired Andre Iguodala to star point guard Ty Lawson, the Nuggets have an overwhelming amount of talent around which to build.

The question is, will they take advantage of this talent or allow it to go to waste?

To answer that question, there is a two-word answer: JaVale McGee.

McGee is a game-changing weapon whom head coach George Karl can utilize. But capitalizing on McGee's presence would mean starting him at center, but according to Adrian Dater of The Denver Post, coach Karl does not plan on taking that route to success:

I'm not happy, and I'm not disappointed...With my big guys in training camp, I've been waiting for separation — you know, who's going to take the responsibility. The guy, in my opinion, who has separated is Kosta [Koufos]. JaVale [McGee] is our most talented big and Kosta is our most fundamental big."

I think [communication with JaVale McGee] can be better, and that's on me...I think I'm going to meet with him in the next couple days...I try to meet with every player before a season, and I think it's probably time for JaVale and I to sit down and have a talk.

In order for these talks to have a positive outcome, McGee must be named the starting center.

In case you missed the news this offseason, the Denver Nuggets signed JaVale McGee to a four-year deal worth $44 million (via Yahoo! Sports). Once again, a four-year deal worth $44 million.

If the Nuggets were to relegate McGee to the bench, he'd be one of the highest-paid reserves in all of basketball. In doing so they'd be favoring the fundamentals of Koufos over the elite athleticism of the higher-paid McGee.

Considering the Nuggets' greatest strength is their high-powered offense, the decision to start Koufos over McGee is senseless. Not only is McGee an elite athlete, but he is a player with virtually unlimited potential.

At 7'0" tall with explosive leaping ability, McGee is capable of finishing around the basket as well as any player in the league, which offers any number of possibilities for a Lawson-to-McGee connection.

Ty Lawson pushes the pace and allows McGee to put on display one of his greatest strengths. This, of course, is McGee's uncanny ability to run the floor and finish in transition.

Andre Miller, meanwhile, brings out the best half-court production McGee has ever displayed. His 21-point outing in Game 5 of the Nuggets' postseason series against Andrew Bynum and the Los Angeles Lakers offers insight into such performances.

With this efficiency established, one might suggest the team brings McGee off of the bench with Miller. Considering the veteran point guard will run with the starters, however, it's simply a matter of developing chemistry among teammates and confidence within McGee.

How better to build confidence than to reward the $44 million man with a spot in the starting lineup?