Despite ESPN's (especially SportsNation) and Jefu's constant knocks on JaVale McGee's intellect, the young man's basketball skills and abilities are exactly what the 76ers need on this roster. At only 24 years old, McGee is about to entire his athletic peak over the next three to four years. With his style of play, this will most likely be the prime of his career. If Denver isn't willing to invest long term, the 76ers should. After the jump, I will outline some points for signing McGee to a max (oh noes!!!) deal this off-season.Background:
Of course Brand will have to be amnestied or restructured in order for this to take place, and Lou Williams will most likely have to be allowed to walk. This (I think) will free up enough cap space to offer a big contract to McGee. It also allows the 76ers to address the backup PG position vacated by Lou Williams through the draft. Austin Rivers comes to mind. All of these moves make perfect sense and are definitely in the realm of possibility.
How He Fits:
Signing McGee addresses the biggest problem on the 76ers roster, a lack of interior athleticism. Don't get it twisted, Thadeus Young is a great athlete, but he doesn't have enough size or length to make any type of impact on the defense end or in the pick and roll game. Last season JaVale produced 11.2 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, and 16.2 points per 36 minutes (basketball-reference.com). To put that in perspective, Elton Brand averaged 8.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 13.7 points per 36 last season. Additionally, McGee shoots at a ridiculously high clip, .556, while Elton shot .494 from the field this past season. Elton Brand had a great season, but his shot blocking style is not the same as McGee's. McGee is a threat to block floaters and jumpshots, while Elton's blocks mostly come on underneath-the-basket style plays.
But the numbers don't tell the whole story. JaVale is an athletic freak, and maybe the most athletic big man currently in the NBA. He would be amazing in the pick and roll for both Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. The 76ers haven't had a lob option since Slammin' Sammy Dalembert was traded for the incredibly athletic and high-upside Spencer Hawes (he's pretty good). Bringing on McGee would force other teams' bigs to stay at home when Jrue or ET gets to the rim instead of being able to help. No similar threat currently exists on the 76ers. Just so you know what type of athleticism I'm referring to...
Additionally, his athleticism fits perfectly with the 76ers style of play. He's going to be able to get out and run with Jrue, ET, and Andre Iguodala (if he's still here). He blocks shots and creates turnovers which leads to fast breaks. No other big man on the 6ers roster consistently gets out on the fast break like McGee would.
He's immature, point blank. There's no way of getting around it. But he seemed to be less of a problem once he arrived in Denver's winning environment. He's still an extremely young man who knew nothing but losing as a member of the Wizards. Lets face it, the Wizards are a dysfunctional franchise and McGee was probably the team's best player last year. As a member of the 6ers, Dougie C would be able to motivate him and keep him in check on the basketball court. JaVale seemed to respond well to George Karl, so there's no reason to believe that he wouldn't respond in the same manner to Collins.
Even if he didn't work out, he would still be a young big who blocks shots and dunks the crap out of the basketball in the prime of his career. There is no doubt the 6ers would be able to move McGee's contract two years down the road if it hasn't gone well in Philadelphia.
Also, he's an extremely poor foul shooter. Big deal, no one on the 76ers can shoot free throws anyways.
JaVale McGee would be an instant upgrade over every big on the 76ers roster. McGee plays on the interior and isn't looking to take jumpers. He would free up space for Vucevic, Thad, and your boy LaVoy for mid range jumpers. He would fit in the pick and roll game and is a great lob option underneath the basket. His athleticism draws fouls on the interior and keeps shot blockers at home when guards are driving the basket. He's a great compromise for those who want to rebuild and those who want to win now. High upside, reasonable contract (maximum salary of 9mil/season under new CBA), and an instant improvement to the team. Putting McGee alongside Turner and Holiday would be the future of the franchise.
Correction: I misread the article I was looking at - the maximum is more like 14mil. So I wouldn't be willing to sign him to that much, more around 9-10mil/year.