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JaVale McGee has spectacular dunks, would impress Flip Saunders more with a few rebounds

Oct 4, 2010, 1:57 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for jmcgee_dunk.jpgJaVale McGee can throw it down. He and John Wall showed a connection during Summer League because Wall likes to run and throw ally-oops and McGee loves to run and catch ally-oops.

But Wizards coach Flip Saunders knows a little secret — you can’t get out and run if somebody doesn’t grab the defensive rebound.

Okay, not much of a secret. But with Andray Blatche sitting out the start of the season McGee was expected to start at the five so he could run with Wall. But Saunders told Michael Lee of the Washington Post there needs to be more.

“Hilton Armstrong’s had a really solid camp,” [Saunders] said. “He’s actually played better than JaVale has through camp right now. We’ve got to get JaVale defensive rebounding right now. With him, we need more substance than style. He has a tendency – he’s always been a style guy, and we got to get some substance out of that position.”

When asked if Armstrong would be the starter, Saunders said, “That’s what preseason is going to do. I don’t decide who is going to play, the players tell me.”

McGee said he has made a concerted effort to get better with defensive rebounding. “I feel like I’m doing better. I’m boxing out, trying to find bodies. If I’m not getting the rebound, I’m just making sure my man is not getting the rebound. That’s what I’m trying to do,” McGee said. “I just don’t want anything for them to be like, ‘Oh, he’s not doing this. He’s not doing that.’ I’m doing every thing they say and try to throw my little stuff in, as long as I’m doing what they want me to do.”

This may be more words than substance — get the player to do what you want by talking to the media and embarrassing him. Phil Jackson coaching 101. McGee’s defensive rebounding numbers are not that bad (he grabbed 18.7 percent of the available defensive boards when he was on the floor last season).

The fact remains that McGee is a better player than Armstrong right now and a better fit with what the Wizards want to do. If McGee doesn’t start, he will have played his way out of the job.

  1. LDR4 - Oct 4, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    Since when did Flip Saunders ever care about anything on the defensive end of the floor? If he actually starts Hilton Armstrong over McGee, which everyone knows he won’t do realistically, he could be labeled mad. Hopefully, though, McGee will step up to the plate and grab a couple more defensive boards here and there and bump that percentage up around 20. He might want to work on his offensive boards too with all the jumpers that Washington will take this year. The kid is good, real good. He and Wall should be fun to watch. I can’t wait to watch them play the Mavs tomorrow.

  2. Michael Warren - Oct 4, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Javale McGee is probably my favorite young big men, besides Dwight Howard. He’s got tremendous potential. He’s not the athlete Dwight is but he’s still a freak athlete. He’s like 7-1 ft tall and has freakish length. He just needs to continue to get stronger, work on his def. rebounding and work on his offensive low post moves. He’s got a solid handle for a big man too. He can play on the perimeter as well. It would be interesting if he could play the 3, 4, and 5 positions. He’s still very young and still developing. Him starting at the 5 for the Wizards will help him. He’s gotten better each year and more minutes will help his growth. I also think the Wizards need to sign another veteran big man to help him because they are very young. The Wizards have alot of talented big men with potential too. They got Javale McGee, Andray Blatche, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker and Hilton Armstrong. I like this Wizards team and I think they have the most athleticism in the NBA. Seriously. They got Wall, Arenas, Thornton, J.Howard, Young, JaVale, Blatche, Booker, Seraphin, Armstrong, etc.

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