Age: 30 Height: 7-0 Weight: 270 lbs School: Nevada
If you spent the last few months wondering how former Warriors center JaVale McGee ended up on the Lakers with LeBron James, we finally have an answer. "I played against him in the last two NBA Finals," LeBron told The Associated Press last week. Last season, McGee had a greater impact against LeBron and the Cavs, as he averaged 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.8 minutes.
It’s been a near-180 with the Lakers. Los Angeles’s free-agency additions were headlined by Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson, two solid playmakers devoid of a jump shot. The Lakers jettisoned stretch five Brook Lopez in favor of JaVale McGee, further limiting their options from beyond the arc.
For a few games now, the Lakers have been winning the way LeBron James teams have won for years: They may not execute on one end for long stretches of the game (Los Angeles played some terrible defense in the second and much of the third quarter) but when it gets to crunch time LeBron and company take over and that’s enough. The Lakers were down 12 early in the fourth to Orlando Sunday afternoon and still trailed by 10 with 6:30 to go, but then the comeback came: A LeBron three, a JaVale McGee hook shot, a couple of LeBron dunks, then a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three, all while the Lakers played a more physical and aggressive defense, and it was a tied game, 104-104. LeBron missed a three and the Lakers stopped getting shots at the rim, while the Magic got their final buckets — a Terrence Ross layup and an Aaron Gordon dunk — inside the restricted area.
There was a two-season stretch during which JaVale McGee scored a total of 141 points. He was a target of jokes, wildly misunderstood by many in the NBA, almost an afterthought of sorts whose career seemed to be closer to flaming out than taking off. And in those darkest days, McGee kept asking himself