JaVale McGee signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers for the veteran’s minimum this summer. While he had shown steady improvement with the Golden State Warriors, no one could have predicted the breakout season he’s having in L.A.
Through 18 games this season, McGee is averaging a career-high 13.3 points per game on 63.9 percent shooting from the field. He’s also averaging 6.4 rebounds, and a career-high 2.6 blocks per game.
McGee is one of four players averaging at least 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. The others? Myles Turner, Anthony Davis and Hassan Whiteside. Of that group, McGee is the only one converting 60 percent of his field goal attempts.
To say he’s outplayed the monetary value of his veteran’s minimum, one-year, $2.4 million contract would be a gross understatement.
While the front office deserves credit for swooping McGee up on a bargain deal, it was LeBron James who lobbied to have McGee on the roster, according to Tim Reynolds of the Star Tribune.
McGee told Reynolds that he’s grateful for James’ role in the opportunity he’s been given in L.A.:
“He could have said get anybody,” McGee said. “It’s just a reassuring feeling, a confidence-builder I guess, knowing that you’re going into a situation wanted as an option, like you’re really wanted. That’s pretty dope.”
McGee spent years being the laughing stock of the NBA because of his blooper reels, made famous by “Shaqtin’ A Fool.” At one point the treatment affected the way he played.
Now, McGee is arguably the second-most valuable player on a Lakers team that is just a game back of the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, so if he continues to play at the level he’s currently playing at, there will be more players asking their teams to sign McGee next summer.
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