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Look for a lot more JaVale McGee in Denver this season

Sep 12, 2013, 11:14 AM EDT

JaVale McGee AP

JaVale McGee is a smart guy.

He also just does some stupid things on the basketball court. Ones that Shaq mocked on Inside the NBA, decisions big and small that had former coach George Karl limiting his minutes.

All that could change this season. Part of Karl’s surprise exit from Denver was a disagreement about who should play how much — the Nuggets management wanted more minutes for their young stars like McGee.

Now with Brian Shaw at the helm, expect a lot more McGee in Denver — and McGee himself is pretty pumped about that, he told Jeff Caplan of in a rare interview where McGee is really open about himself.

“I’m definitely getting that feeling from the coaches that I’m going to be more of an impact and getting more minutes,” said McGee, who enters his sixth NBA season and second full season in Denver after 3 ½ oddball years with Washington. “It’s really up to the coach as to how he wants to use me. It’s up to me to work and everything, and I’m going to do that. So if I work hard and I come prepared and in shape for training camp, there’s nothing that can stop me but the coach….

“I definitely have post moves. I have a mid-range shot that I really never got to use my whole career in the NBA,” McGee said. “Coach Karl didn’t want his ‘bigs’ shootings at all. [Defenses are] probably going to leave me open for the mid-range, so I definitely got to take that shot.”

The other thing McGee does well is run the court as a big man and finish in transition. Shaw has promised to keep up the tempo in Denver (and with their personnel he should). McGee is the most athletic big in the game today, it’s just a question of how he uses it.

As for what you, or Shaquille O’Neal, or Charles Barkley think about McGee, he doesn’t really care. He is having fun on social media, he’s trying to be positive, and he is comfortable with who he is and doesn’t really care what you think.

“People around the NBA really think that I’m dumb or stupid,” McGee said. “But people that know me know that I’m actually very intelligent. It doesn’t affect me at all.”

He’s going to get the minutes, the chance to change that perception this season. We’ll see what he does with it.

  1. miamatt - Sep 12, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    In other news, “Shaqtin’ da fool” just got picked up for a second season.

  2. whereyaat - Sep 12, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Always wondered why Karl didn’t want to play him more. Dude can be a force, even with the boneheaded mistakes. I have no problem with immediate 5-min benchings after doing something dumb, though.

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      Karl didn’t want to play him more because he’s a horrible coach. He wanted to go small so he could have Corey Brewer run around like a chicken with his head cut off and leave Steph Curry wide open in the corner all the time.

      • denverhoopdreams - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:37 AM

        I like how you have 8 down votes. Especially when you made the comment about Brewer. Did a bunch of Timberwolves fans see your post or something? Brewer was garbage at perimeter defense, and Karl definitely DID have him out there guarding Curry, and he definitely DID look like he was a chicken with his head cut off.

        So many people like Karl just because of his tenure, without realizing that he did a horrible job last season. Queue “57 wins” comments, but so the $#%# what? Melvin Hunt was more of a coach for the Nuggets last season than Karl was. Karl looked more disappointed non stop putting his head in his hands throughout every minute of most of the games.

        I have a hard time seeing 8 Nuggets fans down voting you, because most should be realizing Karl lost his groove since Billups (YES BILLUPS) guided them to the conference finals.

      • adamsjohn714 - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        most people just don’t like hearing negative stuff. As a nuggets fan, I’ve wanted Karl gone for a while. Unfortunately, our GM (who is now gone, WTF?!?!?!) put nearly foolproof rosters together so he was able to win some games and keep his job for too long.

      • whereyaat - Sep 20, 2013 at 5:54 PM

        Haha, great comment. I used to wonder how good/bad of a coach Karl was, but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt because his teams always seemed to do a great job of winning the games against middling opponents in comparison to other coaches, and because he’s funny. But his constant lean towards going small over the years was perplexing, considering how it always led to his team being ousted from the playoffs.

  3. topdawg4ever - Sep 12, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    YAY! More JaVale! The dude’s a human highlight reel. He needs more minutes to cut down on the bonehead plays. But when he’s on he’s ON. Should be fun to watch. BTW his tweets are hilarious.

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      follow him mom on twitter too. Sometimes she tweets about him and they are ridiculously funny. If I can find her handle I’ll post it.

      • 24thesho - Sep 14, 2013 at 9:47 PM

        Well, I think that’s one of his problems. His mom. Not because it’s his mom, but, because his mom was a star collegiate player and is a little too overbearing; you can see it when the camera is on her . So, she puts more pressure on him without even realizing it. It’s one thing if it’s Ray Allen’s or even Allen Iverson’s mother is somewhat over zealous, but if your mom can play ball, I’m sure that can be really distracting while at the same time telling you how great you are and still you’re my baby, etc. She has every right, but, it’s still must be somewhat annoying.

      • topdawg4ever - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        I follow JaVale on Twitter- he’s hilarious. His mom has a twitter account? post it please!

  4. abchome - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    I’d love to see McGee getting more minutes. He’s definitely my most favorite player, on shaqtin-a-fool.

  5. muhangis - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:35 AM


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