Tuesday, November 23, 2010

JaVale McGee's rebounding accomplishment

JaVale McGee is sort of a seven-foot anomaly. He's taller than most players on the court, but he's not exactly a rebounding machine. Most of that is of his own doing, as he's often out of position or more worried about going for put-back dunks or highlight plays.

But recently, there have been signs that the 22-year-old McGee may be modifying his game to be more effective. McGee, who's now in his third season, did something in the last few games that he had not yet done in his professional career: grab 10 or more rebounds in three straight games. He almost made it four games, but he only had nine rebounds against the Raptors on Nov. 16.

In the Wizards' most recent game, a loss to the Pistons, McGee snatched a career-high 16 rebounds and a stunning eight offensive rebounds. In his last four games, McGee has 47 rebounds -- and 24 of them have been offensive boards. That's impressive.

After the Pistons game, McGee received praise from both Gilbert Arenas and Flip Saunders. Here were there quotes, via The Washington Post's Michael Lee:
"He played great basketball," said Arenas . . . "He stuck to his principles. He made it easy for himself, he was getting offensive rebounds, waiting for the offense to come to him and he didn't try to do too much to get him taken out of the game like usual. He showed that if he plays the right way, he is effective out there."


"By far, his best overall game," Saunders said.
Considering how critical Saunders has been of McGee, that's a strong compliment.

It's still early in the season, but here's a quick look at how McGee's rebounding numbers stack up to his two previous seasons.


A couple things first: 1) Minutes were rounded up or down, 2) "Off" = offensive rebounds, and 3) McGee played 75 games in his rookie season, 60 games the next, and has played 12 games so far this season. So, yes, it's still a small sample size for the potential new McGee. Still, though, he is grabbing offensive rebounds at a much better rate, which likely has to do with him playing more minutes. But his improved minutes and stats are also aided by better stamina and conditioning, which he should be credited for as well.

Right now, McGee is averaging 8.8 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 59 percent from the field. All of those numbers would be career highs.

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