#NuggetsRank No. 5: JaVale McGee

Every year around this time ESPN introduces its annual #NBArank series codifying all 500 players in the NBA from least to most valuable. Last year Roundball Mining Company decided to get in on the action and began ranking each of the players on the Denver Nuggets’ final 15-man roster in the same fashion. We’ve polled all seven of our writers, asking them to arrange each player on the Nuggets roster from one to 15 (one being the best, 15 the least valuable), then we added everyone’s scores together to come up with a single, definitive list of the 15 “most valuable” Denver Nuggets. Last year JaVale McGee was ranked at No. 5 and this season he remains at the same spot.

It’s no real surprise that McGee remains at the No. 5 spot in this year’s rankings. While his minutes and numbers saw a slight decline last season, JaVale’s production was very similar to what we saw in the 2011-12 season.

Whether McGee’s constant mishaps on the court or George Karl’s inclination to put his trust into his veteran players is to blame, JaVale never really had the confidence of his coach. He could awe the crowd with his incredible athleticism, only to take command of a fastbreak and throw the ball into the crowd the very next play.

Moving into the 2013-14 NBA season McGee remains somewhat of a mystery. After coming off the bench in all of his 79 regular season appearances last season, the 25-year-old will be put in a position to prove his worth this year. Kosta Koufos is gone and McGee will undoubtedly be the starting center.

In a lot of ways, this upcoming season could very well define what the rest of McGee’s career will look like. Will he remain a goofy big man or will he prosper into a Tyson Chandler-esque rim protector that can change the outcome of a game on the defensive end? He certainly has unique athleticism to his advantage and he is now presented with an exclusive opportunity to excel.

A defense-oriented coach such as Brian Shaw should be a positive influence on McGee, who can block shots but still needs to work on his timing and overall awareness on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, it’s hard to see JaVale developing a reliable post game and he will most likely remain limited to pick-and-roll offense.


15. Anthony Randolph

14. Quincy Miller

13. Timofey Mozgov

12. Jordan Hamilton

11. Randy Foye

10. Darrell Arthur

9. J.J. Hickson

8. Andre Miller

7. Evan Fournier

6. Nate Robinson

5. JaVale McGee


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  • CD Pascual

    I really had no idea of JaVale’s knucklehead reputation ’til Nene trade. And I really feel that Denver is the place where he can really become the player haters don’t want him to be. I’m hoping that next season that McGee will show that he is a steal for the Nuggets, and a loss for the Wizards, especially Ernie Grunwald.

  • dynamo.joe

    Said it before and I’ll say it again: JaVale McGee’s genius lies on the offensive end, not the defensive end. Can he get better on defense? Sure. Will he ever be a great defender? Nope.

    • Bricks

      Genius is too generous a word to describe what Javale’s offense will ever be. Make no mistake, he was offered his $40 mil to be a defensive intimidator and to alter opponents’ shots, this more than any other facet of his game. Once Javale accepts this fact and stops thinking he can develop an offensive game like Hakeem, Wilt or Kareem, then he, and we, will see how well Javale’s game can sync with this team.

  • heykyleinsf

    JaVale does have potential on defense. He is just inconsistent period. He’s growing in to his potential. If Iguoadala himself endorsed him as having Wilt Chaimberlain type of potential. I’m inclined to buy in that JaVale could evolve in to a player like we have never had at the 5 before. He has potential to be our best in history.. pretty awesome thinking of Mutumbo there. No I do not think he will become a player like Wilt. But when he is feeling it.. he is scary good.

    I’m happy that Shaw is the coach now.. I’m confident this will be a breakthrough year for JaVale…

    Speaking of old Nuggets centers. I think RBMC could show a lot of class by helping people get how Birdman was railroaded. See this story… http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2013/09/chris_birdman_andersen_was_vic.php?fb_action_ids=10200571797608807&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210200571797608807%22%3A351398128328265%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210200571797608807%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

  • Native Nugget

    JaVale is still very enigmatic to me. I can’t tell if he runs out of gas or if the coach pulled him too soon. I can’t tell if his basketball IQ is low or if it’s high and he struggles to execute because he’s young/excited. I can’t tell if he’s the hungry ‘go learn from Hakeem in the off season’ type or the pedestrian ‘just let me listen to my music and play video games’ type. To be fair, he didn’t get stuck in any dramas with Karl when he was pulled out of games and he has consistently praised the organization for helping him develop – dude’s got some class. I’m hopeful we’ll see a big improvement in consistency this year.

  • Bricks

    This leaves Ty, Gallo, Ill Wil, and Manimal. Ty’ll lead the list, of course, which should show us all that, once again, these Nugs’ll have to win with no superstar, with impeccable depth, and as a TEAM. Our best player is far from being a superstar, and he never will be. But as the best player on this team, that’s adequate enough to win the West if Shaw uses the depth and toughness of this unit in the right way. (The 5 will be this team’s biggest liability: Good luck, Brian!)

  • Paul Griggs

    Andre Miller is better that Javale…potential counts for nothing until it’s realized.

  • heykyleinsf

    4.. Chandler