Over these next two weeks, I will be breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the Washington Wizards players. Yesterday, I broke down the strengths and weaknesses of Andray Blatche's game. Today's breakdown is JaVale McGee.
JaVale McGee is a 7'0" center, weighing in at 250 pounds, although reports have him growing an inch or more in the off-season, and putting on between 7-10 pounds of muscle mass. He also has a reported 33" vertical leap, and a 7'6" wing span. He is only 22 years old, and still has not fully matured physically.
The only center in the NBA with similar physical dimensions and athleticism is Dwight Howard. Obviously, Dwight Howard's game is more developed, and he has become dominant on the defensive end of the floor. JaVale McGee has the physical tools, however his game has a long way to go before it can be compared to Howard's.
After the 2009-10 All-Star break, JaVale McGee averaged 10.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. During the off-season, he seemed to play very well in the NBA summer league alongside John Wall, averaging 19.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game. He showed signs of much improvement on the offensive end and changed many shots on the defensive end. McGee also participated in USA basketball, only being cut right before the team left for the World Championships.
JaVale McGee is going to need to continue developing his game on both ends of the floor, if he is going to be considered a top-10 center in this league. His strengths include great athleticism for his size, excellent ability to finish at the basket, good shot-blocking and solid ball-handling skills.
The areas of his game which he can improve on include rebounding on both ends of the floor, knocking down 12-15' jump shots, and developing a couple of go-to post-up moves.
Another issue with McGee is his problem picking up quick fouls, and taking himself out of games. He can't be an effective player if he is not on the floor for most of the game.
JaVale McGee is going to get the opportunity to get a lot of rebounds, and open looks at the basket this season. John Wall, Gilbert Arenas and Andray Blatche will get the ball most frequently, so this will be a great opportunity for McGee to pick up easy baskets, alley-oop dunks, and plenty of rebounds.
If he plays hard night in and night out, he could find himself being an important factor in many of the Wizards victories. A man with his athletic gifts, should be averaging 15 points, 12-15 rebounds and three blocks per game this season. If he comes to play every night, alongside Andray Blatche, the Wizards could cause a lot of problems for their opponents in the paint.
If JaVale McGee's body is still developing, this could present some awkwardness at times. But once he develops his coordination to match up with his athleticism, he should find himself in the discussion of top centers in the NBA.