On Wednesday night, the Wizards ended their eight-game losing streak in surprisingly convincing fashion, with a 100-85 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. A few quick thoughts on the game before I get to my major point (see title for a hint):
- John Wall didn’t have the flashiest stats, but I thought he played one of his better overall games. He shot 5-9 from the floor, made all his free throws, grabbed seven rebounds and added six assists, and kept his turnovers relatively low.
- Nick Young was, well, Nick Young. He shot a bunch (19 times), and made a bunch (10-19 overall, 3-5 from deep, 3-3 from free throw line). 26 points is nothing to scoff at.
- I was really happy for Cartier Martin. He’s one of the hardest workers on the team and a class act. You don’t hear him complaining about PT despite his fluctuating minutes, and tonight, when given the opportunity, he made five three-pointers. With that being said, I don’t see him in the long-term plans of the Wizards. He could be developing a niche as a three-point specialist as the 10th-12 man of another squad down the road though.
And last but not least is JaVale McGee.
My gripe with his performance? On paper, it looks dominant: 16 points, a season-high 17 rebounds, three blocks, and he stayed out of foul trouble. Watching the game, however, things weren’t so peachy. McGee was routinely out of place when different Bucks drove the lane, including once in particular when Brandon Jennings rolled off a screen, John Wall expected some help, and McGee was out on the perimeter, allowing for an easy layup. McGee seemed to be infatuated with shooting at every opportunity, and by the end of the game, it was very apparent that his teammates were less than enthusiastic about dishing it to him, because they knew they wouldn’t get the ball back. On one possession (I believe the second quarter although it could have been the third) McGee got the ball near the free throw line, traveled (although it wasn’t called) and tried to literally jump over a Bucks defender from the edge of the restricted area. I assume he attempted this feat to make Sportscenter and show how impressive he is at dunking, but the end result was an offensive foul and a perplexed look on McGee’s face.
Later on in the game, Nick Young tried to inbound the ball to Wall, who was tightly covered by a Milwaukee Buck. Knowing that a pass to Wall might be stolen, Young threw it to an open McGee, expecting the ball back. Problem is, McGee continues to believe he’s a point guard. He took off down the floor, causing me (and I’m sure other Wizards fans) to cringe. By a stroke of luck, a turnover was narrowly avoided.
My point here is not to put McGee’s performance down. Without question, JaVale put together one of his most complete games of the season. The problem is, McGee could’ve put up those same stats without making so many boneheaded decisions. He needs to get it through his head that the center in Flip Saunders’ system isn’t supposed to create offense. A good center can score when he’s called upon, but only a select few big men (like Dwight Howard) have the offense actually run through them. I’m rooting for JaVale as much as years past, but it’s getting harder and harder to put up with his incoherently awful mistakes.