QUOTABLE II: "They said I was breathing at 75 percent. I'm feeling a lot better. I feel like I can stay out there longer. I've just got to keep taking my medicine."
-- McGee, who recently had a change in medication for his asthma problems.
Interview with Tyson Chandler:
When I watch JaVale McGee, he reminds me of young you. So long and jumping so high. When I see him jump so often, I can't help but think: Save a little of that, JaVale! Do you see that?
When you're young, they say you're young and you're dumb. You can't gain that knowledge except for just playing. There are some Dwight Howards who come in and blossom early and are able to dominate. Then you have guys like myself, and Andrew Bynum, and I think the same thing about JaVale McGee. It's going to take him a while before he truly gets it. But his athletic ability and his just physical capability ... he should be able to change a game. And I definitely think he will.
It's just time and understanding and placing, coaching, guys working with him, before he dominates out there. He has something that you can't teach.
I was able to catch up with JaVale McGee after Team USA practice at the New York Knicks practice facility in Tarrytown, N.Y., on Friday afternoon and he confirmed that he discovered late last season that he has asthma.
McGee said that it was comforting to discover that asthma had been holding him back for so long. Since he began treating the condition, McGee said he has more energy and can be more effective for longer stretches. He mentioned a home game against Charlotte last March, when he had 14 points and 12 rebounds in a career-high 46 minutes "and I didn't go to my knees once and it amazed myself."
"After Durant, I think the star of the 10 minutes was McGee. The last-minute addition to the roster was active. He had a block, a couple of interior shot-contests and a few strong rebounds, two of them offensive and one of those a huge put-back dunk off a Durant miss. McGee did go 0-for-2 from the line though."
"It's up to JaVale, how bad JaVale wants it. JaVale has got to be more of a student of this game," said Cassell, Washington's head coach in summer league action. "Once he understands what it takes to be successful, he'll be fine. It's all up to him. It ain't up to (head coach) Flip (Saunders), it ain't up to (GM) Ernie (Grunfeld), it's up to JaVale."
Oberto still likely will be the first option at center off the bench with JaVale McGee the third option and used here in various situations. McGee has been struggling with some fatigue late in practices, which has caused him to lose some mental focus late, Saunders said.
"That's his biggest thing, you know, being able to fight through getting tired," Saunders said of McGee. "As a young player, I'm sure he's being overwhelmed a little bit. He's had three coaches, he's learning a new system. So what he learned last year, he's learning all new things. Older players have seen it, from being on other teams or from being in the league, but younger players have to learn it."
McGee still will be called upon because the Wizards want to save Oberto some for the postseason, Saunders said.
"You have the idea that he was going to be the guy that's going to help us playoff time, so you don't want to try to wear out a guy like that if you can avoid it."
But McGee still has some learning to do, which Saunders expects him to do both by watching and playing. There's no chance the Wizards send him down to the D-League, however, because they believe he can still help them right now in certain situations.
Wizards down one, 9.2 seconds to play, must-win game. What's the play?
There's a play Eddie Jordan loves to run called "ISO Giant," and it goes like this:
Dixon inbounds to McGee. McGee dunks the ball in his own basket. Wizards now down three. Dixon inbounds to Muresan, who has been summoned from VIP lounge, where he runs the executive nacho dispenser. Muresan swings to Jamison in the corner. Defense rotates, but Arenas anticipates the shift, positions wheelchair behind the defender and yanks his shorts down. Jamison drops 3-point finger roll at the buzzer. Analyst Doug Collins screams "Kiss me, Michael!" and stabs DeShawn Stevenson. Wizards make technical free throw, win game.
• TrueHoop, ESPN's NBA blog
"JaVale is looking good, man," Haywood said. "Some of the technical things he hasn't gotten yet and some of the fundamentals, but as far as being an athlete, the sky is the limit. This kid can really affect a game in a major way that not too many big men can. To me, he's probably one of the top two or three centers in terms of athleticism, in the league, hands down."
D: Washington Wizards: JaVale McGee is a decent enough prospect. I just thought there were much better players available. Chalmers would have been a great fit on this team. Hickson, Koufos and Jordan all look like better long term projects than McGee. There could be an uprising of young teams in the East in 2009. Miami and Chicago could easily return to prominence, Atlanta and Philadelphia look primed to become perennial playoff teams, Toronto could move in with the elite and Milwaukee and Charlotte have brought in coaches with a history of immediate improvement. The Wizards need to make some bold moves just to keep up. That didn’t happen in the draft.