It is the end of the season which marks the point where the Bullets Forever community get to weigh in on how well they think each Wizards player did over the course of the the abbreviated 2011-12 season. Each player is rated on the 1-10 scale. Next up: JaVale McGeeAt some point during the 2011-12 regular season, JaVale McGee turned into an answering machine. Many of you may not be familiar with the concept of this outdated technology, but once upon a time, when you were away from your house there was a machine that would record the messages of calls you had missed. Many messages were left to JaVale by the Wizards coaching staff and my assumption is that he picked up every two out of three calls. Sometimes, the messages left would become garbled or the tape would warp, leaving McGee to try to parse together whatever mixed message the coaching staff had left for him. ("Substance before style!" "5 good plays out of 250." Its not a videogame. ect.)
JaVale McGee improved this year. He improved to the point where he could he could be traded almost even up for one of the most established big men in the NBA. Though statistics demonstrate the the team defensively performed worse with him on the floor than off, he still had worked enough on his low post game, staying down on defense and rotating to where he dominated every fourth contest. Which leads everyone to the question, why would the Wizards trade a player with potential who was improving gradually and brought awareness to the team (both good and bad) for his monstrous dunks and various foibles?
I think, if we strip away all the things that have been written about McGee on this site and others on his playing habits and Youtube ventures and posturing, the answer lies in his upcoming RFA status. The Wizards made the judgement (IMO) that to retain McGee would mean making him the second most important player on the team, an investment they were ultimately unwilling to make with an upcoming loaded draft class and the possibility of having a large amount of cap space going into the offseason.
Beyond the fingerpointing that is bound to follow over the years, the public statements of Pam McGee and the eventual trajectory of the Wizards franchise, McGee leaving the team still makes me more wistful than elated. I don't think I have ever had the pleasure of watching a player with more athletic prowess than McGee, nor have I ever been as frustrated on a night to night basis with a player's inability to put together a "complete" game. I wish McGee the best wherever he ends up this summer and I am certain that there will be points that I will rue the day we traded him. However, substance before style never appeared to be on the docket in Washington, so here is hoping that George Karl or another gifted coach can bring out the best in a truly unique player