For the majority of the first half of the regular season, JaVale McGee was one of the Los Angeles Lakers’ most impactful players. Then, out of nowhere, McGee went down with an upper respiratory infection that turned out to be much worse than anyone initially thought.
Since making his return on Dec. 30, McGee has looked a step slow — by his standards, anyway — but he’s slowly starting to find his rhythm again.
“I’m getting back to my normal, super hyperactive self,” McGee said. “I’m just feeling good, so I’m really excited about it.”
His numbers in their win certainly reflected that.
While he’s had higher-scoring nights since returning to the court, he was the most impactful he’s been since before he fell ill, posting a net rating of +32.6. His previous high (+45.7) came against the Charlotte Hornets on Dec. 15, the first day he started showing flu-like symptoms.
Michael Jordan who?
McGee also played a huge role in holding Andre Drummond to just six points on 2-6 shooting from the field on Wednesday. He was great and his return to form couldn’t have come at a better time.
With LeBron James ruled out until at least Wednesday, Jan. 16, the Lakers will need McGee to get it done on both ends of the floor. They’ll need him even more if James misses more time than expected.
As long as he fills his role the same way he did against the Pistons, the Lakers should be able to stay afloat until James returns.