The traditional center role is diminishing, but JaVale McGee has found a way to remain relevant.
The big man is coming off two successful stints with the Golden State Warriors, winning back-to-back championships and even getting the starting nod in nine playoff contests.
McGee has been a staple of TNT’s “Shaqtin’ A Fool” segment, but he hopes fans instead see him as an elite rim protector and defensive contributor.
“I’m hoping I’m remembered as one of the most prolific shot-blockers,” McGee told ESPN’s Sam Alipour. “I’m definitely a smarter player than I was, especially defensively. I used to be a wait-at-the-rim big, more of a Rudy Gobert-type of player. Going to Golden State, I really fine-tuned everything on defense, which is important because the NBA is moving away from standard bigs and going toward bigs that can switch and things like that. I feel like people think that I have mental lapses and I’m injury-prone, which isn’t true. You just don’t know me. You’re watching TNT and think it’s real.”
McGee agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, joining Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, and Rajon Rondo as players who are only locked in for this coming season.
“If you look at all the guys we signed, they don’t care about anything other than getting wins,” McGee added. “It’s definitely gonna be a show, but these guys are workers, grinders, and there’s gonna be some real fire lit under our asses out there.”
McGee, 30, could see an increased role with no true veteran center on the roster as he enters the 10th season of his roller-coaster career.
He averaged 5.5 points and 2.9 rebounds through his two-year tenure with Golden State.