The Los Angeles Lakers made a number of veteran acquisitions after signing LeBron James this offseason. However, none appear to be paying off as well as big man JaVale McGee.
McGee went from a human blooper reel on Shaquille O’Neal’s “Shaqtin’ a Fool” to becoming one of the Lakers most important pieces, particularly on defense.
McGee has emerged as a confident starting center, averaging 15.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. While some criticized the Lakers for signing McGee and letting go of Brook Lopez, McGee’s performance in the early going has proven that he belongs.
His blocks per game ranks second only to Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat. McGee’s defensive presence is felt even more when he is off the court, as the Lakers have struggled mightily to stop teams when he is on the bench.
This is proven by the fact that in the Lakers two wins so far, McGee has averaged around 29 minutes and 20 points. In their five losses, those numbers decrease to 25 minutes and 13 points.
However, McGee’s greatest quality may just be his work ethic, as shown in the video above. Working on defensive and post-up drills with head coach Luke Walton should excite many about what’s to come from the Lakers starting big man.
If he continues to show this kind of work ethic and improvement, his 26 minutes per game may see an increase, and that is something that any Lakers fan should be rooting for in the early going of this season.