The NBA is a strange place, and JaVale McGee is a strange player. After being acquired by the Denver Nuggets at the NBA Trade Deadline, the mercurial big man that couldn't quite cut it with the Washington Wizards has come on strong in the 2012 NBA Playoffs against Andrew Bynum and the Los Angeles Lakers. McGee has nearly averaged a double-double through five playoff games, and he's clearly been a handful for Bynum for long stretches of the series, and that has everyone on the Nuggets excited. Here's a look at what McGee has done so far against the Lakers in his first-ever playoff series:
|GP||MIN||FG%||FT%||Off Reb/GM||Def Reb/GM||Reb/GM||AST/GM||STL/GM||BLK/GM||TO/GM||PTS/GM|
Those numbers aren't eye-popping in many areas -- for a player who gets plenty of dunks the 51.2 percent shooting is a bit low -- but his offensive rebounding prowess and shot-blocking ability on the defensive end have certainly been assets for the Nuggets. George Karl is so enamored with the big man that he compared McGee to former ABA MVP and four-time NBA All-Star Connie Hawkins in a talk with Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post: "I don't think I've ever coached a guy like this. He has the kind of moves of a 6-6 player. The guy he kind of reminds me of a little bit is (1970s star) Connie Hawkins."
Karl did stress that McGee has a long way to go to reach that potential, but the praise didn't stop there. The Nuggets have to worry about McGee hitting restricted free agency this summer, but team executive VP of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said "our intent was to get JaVale for the future, not just for three months," and that reaching a long-term deal with the high-flyer is "one hundred percent" something the team wants to do.