Dallas Mavericks rumors: JaVale McGee to be 16-20-minute per game starting center

Dallas Mavericks, JaVale McGee
Dallas Mavericks, JaVale McGee / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks used the majority of their mid-level exception to sign JaVale McGee to a three-year deal worth $17.2 million. Rebounding and rim protection were the team's two biggest issues in the postseason, so the front office was determined to improve the frontcourt this summer. 

McGee was not the only addition. The Mavs traded for Christian Wood, but head coach Jason Kidd was quick to name McGee the team’s starting center. The seven-footer is a strong rebounder and rim protector that should thrive as a pick and roll partner for Luka Doncic.

Coach Kidd is familiar with McGee from his time with the Lakers, and fans should not expect him to play massive minutes. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon filled supporters in on the team’s thinking on the latest episode of the Lowe Post podcast, and here is a closer look.

Dallas Mavericks rumors: JaVale McGee to be 16-20-minute per game starting center

MacMahon and Zach Lowe did an in-depth season preview where they were discussing the roles of the team’s two frontcourt additions, and MacMahon dropped this interesting tidbit on the team’s thinking.

"JaVale McGee has been promised the starting center job. I believe they are going to have to sell Christian Wood on a sixth-man type of role. Now having said that with JaVale, I know the Mavs have data that says four or five-minute bursts with him and then, his production falls off, so he’s probably a 16 to 20-minute per-game starter."

The news should come as no surprise. McGee has not averaged more than 23 minutes per game since 2012. He averaged 16.6 minutes a night as the Lakers' starting center in the 2019-2020 season when Kidd was an assistant coach. McGee will be extremely productive in his minutes, but fans should not expect him to play more than 20 per game.

The 34-year-old big man will likely have his minutes paired with Luka Doncic because the Mavericks superstar can maximize his offensive production. McGee is a non-shooter that scored 1.4 points per possession as a roll man. Doncic is the best pick and roll ball-handler in the league, and he should help McGee maximize that strength.

JaVale McGee’s expected playing time should make it easier for Christian Wood to buy-in to a sixth-man role. Wood will still play 30-plus minutes per game, and he will be a massive part of the offense as both a floor spacer and roll man when McGee is on the bench.

The Dallas Mavericks made significant upgrades to their frontcourt this offseason, and there will be ample opportunities for JaVale McGee and Christian Wood to thrive. Expect Wood to be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year as McGee plays a 20-minute per game starting role at the five.

The Mavs will be looking to make another deep playoff run, and their new big man duo will play key roles in their success. Fans won’t want to miss a second of the action, so be sure to tune in and enjoy the show.

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