Barring a series of strong performances from Dwight Howard in training camp or injury, JaVale McGee will be the starting center for the Los Angeles Lakers on opening night.
McGee is coming fresh off of a career year, where he averaged a career-high 12 points per game on 62.4 percent from the field to go along with 7.5 rebounds and two blocks per game. This offseason, McGee worked to make sure his second season with the Lakers is just as successful.
During an interview with Chris McGee of Spectrum SportsNet, the seven-footer said that he spent the summer working on his body and refining his game:
“I’ve been working on the same things. Just getting strong, staying strong, getting in my best shape and best conditioning. Making sure that I can run the floor, rim run, block shots and be a defensive presence like I’ve been. I’ve been working on my shot a little bit, but with the guys we have, the shooters, we have, I’m sure that’s not going to be one of the useful parts of my game.”
McGee is confident in his shot, but he understands that his efforts can be put to better use elsewhere:
“I mean, of course if coach draws it up, I’m ready. My shot is there. But I know my role, I know what I’m here for. (To) be a vocal person on defense just because I’m the anchor of the defense, and just making sure that I’m in the spots I need to be at, especially with the great players that we have.”
McGee might not be the stretch-five teams covet in today’s NBA or a dream fit with Anthony Davis in the front court, but he’s still a valuable player in the right role, as evidenced by the +1.7 VORP he posted last season, which was second to only LeBron James on the Lakers.
If he can stay healthy, it’s safe to assume he’ll soak up the bulk of the minutes at center.