Unless your favorite center is Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, or Rudy Gobert (banking on the fact that Anthony Davis plays power forward), JaVale McGee is playing at a higher level than your favorite center.
Clickbait headline aside, McGee is currently playing the best basketball of his 10-year career. Although his fairytale season suffered a minor bump in the road last night in a loss to the Toronto Raptors in which he saw limited playing time, he has been scorching hot to start the season. In the last five games alone, McGee has racked up 20 blocks.
Although it is a sample size of only 10 games, McGee now averages more points than DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside, while shooting a higher field goal percentage than Jokic, KAT and AD. Not to mention, he is also leading the league in blocks. The craziest thing about JaVale’s insane start, however, is the fact that he is doing all this while only playing 26 minutes a game, while most of the aforementioned players see upwards of 34 minutes of court time per game.
After winning back-to-back chips with the Golden State Warriors, it seems McGee has revitalized his career in Los Angeles. Maybe, it’s because he’s playing with three of the games best playmakers in LeBron James, Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball. Or maybe it’s because he’s been the Lakers only reliable option at the 5 thus far, but McGee’s long-standing reputation as a bad or inconsistent player has all but disappeared.
The once perennial Shaqtin’ A Fool MVP is now in legitimate conversation for the Most Improved Player award. He even received high praise from fellow teammate LeBron James, who said he was a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate as well.
It will be interesting to see whether or not this high level of play will be sustainable for McGee, (especially considering the Laker’s recent acquisition of backup center Tyson Chandler, who will surely eat into McGee’s playing time), but his level of play thus far has been nothing short of remarkable. Regardless, Laker’s fans everywhere should be pleased with what they have seen thus far from JaVale McGee.