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Why Mavs Need to Get JaVale McGee

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The Dallas Mavericks have had one of the most peculiar off-seasons I can remember. First, many key components for the team this past season agreed elsewhere, such as their lone bright spot in the playoffs Al-Farouq Aminu, their leading scorer Monta Ellis, and, yet again, their starting big man Tyson Chandler.

Things were looking bleak for the Mavs until disaster was believed to be averted when Wes Matthews and DeAndre Jordan AGREED to deals. And I think we all know why I capitalized and italicized “agreed.”

After Jordan agreed to a 4-year maximum contract, he had a “change of heart” and decided to leave the Mavs high and dry by re-signing with the Clippers. To replace Jordan, they traded for Bucks center Zaza Pachulia. The Mavs were finished. They were about to start tank mode.

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But then a day later, Deron Williams, who spurned the Mavs for the Nets back in 2012, decided that he wanted to come home. A buyout was negotiated and the former all-star came back home to play for his hometown Mavericks.

Not only did the Mavs acquire Williams, but Wes Matthews still signed for what ended up being a max contract worth $70 million. Mark Cuban has also clearly stated that the Mavs are NOT tanking, which is actually not surprising given the fact that if the Mavs don’t have a top 7 pick, it goes to the Boston Celtics because of, you guessed it, Rajon Rondo. Thanks a lot Rondo. He’s screwing the Mavs over even when he’s not in Dallas anymore.

Mark Cuban is trying to make the best out of a bad situation and be competitive in the last years of Dirk Nowitzki‘s career, which is completely understandable considering what Dirk has done for the Mavs. So, now that we know the Mavs aren’t tanking, it’s time to look at how they can assemble the best team possible. That starts with JaVale McGee.

The Mavericks are clearly thin at the 4 and 5, and JaVale McGee, if healthy, would be a big step in solving that problem. The Mavs have had a meeting with McGee, but things have been quiet for the last couple of days. The Mavs are in dire need of a rim protector and a big man who plays above the rim. JaVale McGee could potentially fill both of those holes at once.

Before the Rondo trade, the Mavs were the best offensive team in the league, and the numbers regarding efficiency and points back that up. A big part of the Mavs offense was lobs and dunks. One of the guards or Chandler Parsons would be able to get in the lane, force help defense and throw up a lob that either Brandan Wright or Tyson Chandler would throw down with authority.

Now, Chandler and Wright are gone, and JaVale McGee is the best center left that can do exactly what Wright and Chandler did on the offensive end. The former slam-dunk participant (who, to many people, should’ve been the dunk champion) is one of the most athletic big men in the league.

JaVale McGee’s best season came in 2011-2012 where he averaged 11.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. That is also the season he got traded from Washington to Denver, where he helped the Nuggets force the Lakers to a game 7 in the first round. While McGee is a regular on Shaqtin-A-Fool and makes dumb some pretty dumb plays, his high-flying ability makes him a potential star and a valuable replacement to Chandler and Wright.

However, there’s one major concern as to why JaVale McGee is such a gamble, and that is his health. That’s probably the biggest reason McGee hasn’t been signed yet, and it’s what is concerning the Mavs, much like Andrew Bynum did last summer. Since the 2012-2013 season, McGee hasn’t played more than 23 games and has been traded again to Philadelphia mainly because of health concerns. McGee has had a plethora of leg injuries throughout his young career which have prevented him from becoming the player he can be. But the Mavs may be able to change that.

The Mavericks have one of the best, if not the best training staffs in the league, led by head trainer Casey Smith. They helped Tyson Chandler be one of the top centers in the league twice, and have shown on multiple occasions that they can help players stay healthy. Now, they are already having to deal with an achilles injury from Wes Matthews and a knee injury from Chandler Parson, and if they don’t think that JaVale McGee can stay healthy, then it might be best to let him be. But Mavs fans should hope that the training staff sees McGee as a player worth gambling for because with the right coaching staff and role, he can be a star.

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