NBA Hoops

Season Review: JaVale McGee – The Kings Herald

Season Review: JaVale McGee - The Kings Herald

Everything about the JaVale McGee experience is odd. It’s been that way for years, so it should have come as no surprise, but it was weird from the very beginning of his tenure with the Sacramento Kings. When the Dallas Mavericks waived McGee, the Kings were quickly at the forefront of his possible destinations, and within days McGee had decided on joining the Kings over teams like the Golden State Warriors. On paper, the move made sense. JaVale would provide size, length, and shot-blocking, and bolster Sacramento’s big man depth. But signing him also meant abruptly ending the expected training camp battle between Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel, with both players being waived to allow them other opportunities.

Looking back on the 2023-24 season, and it’s hard to argue that it was a good or bad move. McGee is a beloved figure in the NBA, and seems like a truly lovable bench presence. On the court, he’s less impactful these days. McGee appeared in 46 games, averaging 4 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 0.4 assists while averaging 7.4 minutes per game. JaVale is a perfectly fine 3rd-string center. Break glass in case of foul trouble.

The issue with McGee this season was that for much of the year Mike Brown tried to use him as the team’s second-string center. McGee played regular rotation minutes until early February. Even when Alex Len would get an opportunity and look better than McGee, and even though Len had played great for the Kings down the stretch of the previous season, Brown stuck with McGee for way too long. It’s hard to know what makes a coach decide these things, and in the grand scheme it’s probably not worth fretting too much about how a coach allocates 7-10 minutes per game among his backup centers, but it was really, really confusing to watch this season.

McGee, who turned 36 this season, said in his exit interview that he has no interest in retiring:

McGee was only on a one-year contract with the Kings and is now an unrestricted free agent. I’d be surprised if the Kings retained McGee, as there will likely be cheaper options for a third center. If this is the end for JaVale in Sac, I’ll wish him well. I have no bad feelings towards him, but I also don’t really have great feelings either.


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