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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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JaVale McGee is struggling to protect the rim for the Dallas Mavericks

McGee was one of the best rim protectors in the NBA last season as opponents shot 10.9 percent worse inside of six feet when he was on the floor. Through four games that number sits at 1.3 percent better. The Pelicans relentlessly attacked the paint in the first quarter, and McGee and the Mavs had no answer.

The seven-footer should be familiar with the defensive scheme because it is similar to the one the Lakers used under Frank Vogel. McGee was part of their 2020 title team that had Jason Kidd as an assistant coach.

The 34-year-old big man is still blocking 1.0 shot in just 12.8 minutes per game, but his rim protection has been way down. Teams are attacking the paint whenever McGee is on the floor, and the result has been easy buckets early on.

This is a bit more concerning and a trend to watch. McGee is 34, and it is possible that he lost a half-step of quickness. It could just be a blip on the radar screen as four games is not enough sample size to make a firm conclusion. The Dallas Mavericks signed JaVale McGee to improve their rim protection, and the veteran big man needs to be better moving forward.