“JaVale McGee reached his prime at 34?!”: Suns center has turned out to be the best back up big in the NBA after his move to Chris Paul’s team

Akash Murty
|Published January 23, 2022

JaVale McGee did not disappoint Chris Paul, who saw the potential of what the 34-year-old could still do during his time in Denver.

Just when it looked like he’ll be a journeyman in the NBA helping teams to win championships in short stints, JaVale McGee has found a home with the Phoenix Suns.

Chris Paul visualized the 3 time NBA champ’s fit to his team in last year’s Playoffs when the Suns faced the Denver Nuggets in the Conference semifinals.

One specific moment that really earned McGee the respect of Paul, was in Game 2 of the series. Before the Suns eventually swept the Nuggets, McGee’s mentality was on show when Denver was all but blown out in the second game.

Also read: “Charles Barkley has been telling me that crap, ever since he’s been here”: When Michael Jordan dismissed the Suns MVP’s claim of being destined to win a championship during the 1993 NBA Finals

In his 3rd team in 2 years, the former Golden State center played 7 minutes, that too in the garbage time, putting up just 3 points, a rebound, and an assist. But the 34-year-old’s tenacity amazed the Sun’s veteran point guard.

That led to the 2020 champion with the Lakers to sign a one-year, $5 million contract with the Phoenix team to play a back-up role for DeAndre Ayton. And it looks like a bargain deal as of now.

Loading embed tweet https://twitter.com/ESPNNBA/status/1474873339927801856?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

JaVale McGee has come up Big for the Suns

In his 14th year in the league, McGee has just 3 seasons where he averaged more than 20 minutes a game. But he has done enough to go down as one of the smartest bigs in the game. He is averaging 10.1-points, 6.9-rebounds, and close to a block per game in just 16 minutes of action per game, having the 12th best PER (23.91) in the league.

Loading embed tweet https://twitter.com/OfficialNBABuzz/status/1482969657912999938?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The suns needed all of those numbers and his crucial presence in DeAndre Ayton’s absence now and then. Last week, after spraining his ankle against the Detroit Pistons, DA again went out, handing the duties over to McGee. He had 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block in the 135-108 win.

Ayton hasn’t returned since, making Monday’s match-up against the Pacers his 17th missed game of the season. And despite him being the crucial part of what the 2021 finalists do, the Suns are 14-3 in DA’s absence.

Loading embed tweet https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1485076338969137163?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Also read: “LeBron James surprises his mother with a luxury SUV ahead of her 54th birthday”: The NBA superstar’s relationship with Gloria James signifies the mother-son bond

JaVale McGee is a big reason why they haven’t missed the first pick of the 2018 Drafts. He put up 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks in a 10-point victory over the hot Pacers, who had just beaten the Lakers and the Warriors in their last two games.

Share this article

About the author

Akash Murty

Akash Murty

An Electrical and Electronics Engineer by degree, Akash Murty is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. Previously a Software Engineer, Murty couldn’t keep himself away from sports, and his knack for writing and putting his opinion forward brought him to the TSR. A big Soccer enthusiast, his interest in basketball developed late, as he got access to a hoop for the first time at 17. Following this, he started watching basketball at the 2012 Olympics, which transitioned to NBA, and he became a fan of the game as he watched LeBron James dominate the league. Him being an avid learner of the game and ritually following the league for around a decade, he now writes articles ranging from throwbacks, and live game reports, to gossip. LA Lakers are his favourite basketball team, while Chelsea has his heart in football. He also likes travelling, reading fiction, and sometimes cooking.

Read more from Akash Murty