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.
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.
JaVale McGee has been ballin’ out this season 💪 pic.twitter.com/dH19oDMhlB
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 25, 2021
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.
— NBA Buzz (@OfficialNBABuzz) January 17, 2022
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.
— NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2022
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.