Should Dallas Mavericks be worried about JaVale McGee’s slow start?

Dallas Mavericks, JaVale McGee
Dallas Mavericks, JaVale McGee / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks used the majority of their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign JaVale McGee this offseason as they looked to plug a massive hole. Dallas reached the conference finals last season, but they struggled to rebound and protect the rim. The Mavs mostly went small and spaced the floor, which did not help them on the glass.

The front office addressed those issues by signing McGee and trading for Christian Wood. C-Wood has hit the ground running with the Mavericks, but it has been a slow start to McGee’s second stint in Dallas. The seven-footer has started each of the team’s first four regular season games, and the team is hoping his production improves.

Should the Mavs or their fans be worried about McGee’s play thus far? It is the subject of plenty of chatter on Twitter, but here is a look at his current struggles before diving into what to expect moving forward.

Dallas Mavericks need JaVale McGee to rebound better

Head coach Jason Kidd named McGee the team’s starting center during summer league, but he was never expected to play massive minutes. The Mavs just want solid production whenever he was on the court, especially on the boards.

McGee averages 11.2 rebounds per 36 minutes for his career, and he has been north of 11.9 for six straight years, but it has dropped to 10.6 so far this season. The seven-footer is averaging just 5.6 defensive rebounds per 36, which is unsustainably bad.

There has been some bad luck in this department early on with balls bouncing away from McGee, and Luka Doncic is also an elite rebounder. Expect McGee’s number to go up, but the increase will likely be moderate with number 77 and Christian Wood both attacking the glass. The panic level should be low about his rebounding, but what about his rim protection?

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