JaVale McGee has always been a player that comes up when potential is talked about in the NBA. He never seemed to fulfill his potential on the Washington Wizards, constantly making mindless plays; however, when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets at the 2012 NBA trade deadline, McGee became a different player.
On Wednesday night, the Nuggets signed him for four years and $44 million. After some of the ridiculous contracts that have been handed out this offseason, it's a bargain. Just to compare: Brook Lopez, a seven-foot center who averaged 5.9 rebounds in his last full season, received four years and $61 million earlier in the offseason. Bottom line, you're going to have to overpay somewhat to get a good center in the NBA; the key is just making sure you don't overpay too much.
If McGee returns to his Washington form, this isn't a good contract, but that seems unlikely given his situation. He is in a winning environment and has already had some success as a Nugget. He's also shown to George Karl that he can play, and was an integral part of the Nuggets' playoff series against the Lakers showing some of his potential posting 8.6 points and 9.6 rebounds against Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, two premier seven footers in the NBA. Additionally, his PER in 20 games with the Nuggets this season was a career high 20.5 and he averaged 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes. A front court of McGee and Kenneth Faried for the future is an athletic, rebounding force that will need to improve on its offensive ability, but it has a chance to be great.
The Nuggets offseason looks like it is complete as of now, with the only new addition being Anthony Randolph. Denver got him on a decent deal like their other contracts this offseason for three years and $6 million, but, don't expect Randolph to be more than a good rebounder off the bench. Moreover, the Nuggets keep Andre Miller, JaVale McGee and sign Anthony Randolph, giving the Nuggets a team that should keep them right where they were last season, if not a little better.
However, will even a moderate improvement be able to get the Nuggets out of the first round? History, of course, has shown the Nuggets rarely get over that hump.