The big trade that occurred yesterday between the Denver Nuggets and Washington Wizards got me wondering just what did the Nuggets get when they swapped Nene for JaVale McGee. Who better to bring in than Mike Prada of Bullets Forever (and SB Nation.com) to answer some questions for Nuggets Nation?
Before we get started, I'd like to say that I'm going to miss Nene. I've been critical of his game for years, but I've also always been a fan of Nene's game and of Nene as a person. It will be tough to see him in another uniform, especially after thinking he'd be gone this past off-season - only to have him return ... for a few months. Best of luck to Nene and I hope the fans in D.C. treat him well.
1.) It appeared that the Wizards needed to shake up the team. Was trading two young players in Nick Young and JaVale McGee the Wizards getting rid of problem players or just guys that needed new scenery?
Mike Prada: It's clear the Wizards were getting tired of their immaturity, so perhaps the best way to put it is that they felt they were problem players. Of course, their motivations were also bigger than that. Both players were slated to be free agents, and the Wizards obviously felt this was better than paying them too much or losing them for nothing.
2.) Some in the Denver media are already calling McGee a taller J.R. Smith ... meaning he's a knucklehead. Can he change?
MP: I don't know, that's a tough one to figure. On the one hand, the Wizards certainly had some structural problems that contributed to McGee's lack of development. A change of scenery should probably do him well, in which case, this is a steal for Denver going forward. On the other hand, McGee does have a high sense of himself, and I'm a bit skeptical of his fit in George Karl's free-flowing system, where on-court IQ is so important. A part of me feels like McGee would fare better in a more structured environment.
3.) What can and can't McGee do on the offensive end? He's just 24 years-old, what is his ceiling?
MP: He can't really do much, but he has a developing post game with a Kareem-style sweeping hook. He makes a far bigger impact as a cutter, offensive rebounder and on the fast break. If Karl can convince him to keep moving, there could be a lot of lobs in Denver's future.
4.) What can and can't McGee do on the defensive end? Should we worry about him getting into foul trouble?
MP: He's a phenomenal shot blocker, but little else. There's a reason the Wizards have fared far worse with him on the floor than off this year. He's pretty terrible defending pick and roll and tends to go for lots of shot-blocks instead of playing solid positional defense. In this way, he's kind of the anti-Nene. The hope is you can teach him how to be in better position, in which case, his gifts will be unleashed, but he's been in the league several years and still hasn't shown much improvement.
5.) What sort of contract can the Nuggets general manager expect McGee's agent to ask for in the off-season?
MP: There were reports that he asked for $14 million a year, which is hilarious. If he can be locked up for less than $10 million a season, I think it's a good, calculated risk.
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