Free agent addition JaVale McGee is excited to show fans what he can really do in a healthy second stint with the Mavericks, writes Dwain Price of Mavs.com. The 7’0″ center suffered a stress fracture in his left tibia back in 2015/16 and struggled upon his return, leading him to eventually be waived by Dallas.
“Health-wise I’ve grown to know how to take care of myself now and I know how to do preventative things that I didn’t know how to do the last time I was here,” McGee said. “The last time I was here I was recovering from an injury – trying to give 100 percent — so just being here 100 percent healthy is beautiful.”
McGee said competing against Luka Doncic during last season’s playoffs with Phoenix was key to his return to Dallas, Price notes.
“Seeing seven straight games of Luka definitely helped with the decision of knowing that he’s a player who gets everybody involved, and I like being around players like that,” McGee said. “The LeBrons, Chris Pauls and players who get their teammates involved, especially big men. So that was definitely a selling point for me.
“All the attention that (Doncic) draws and the way that this system is set up to have all the shooters around, it really opens up the lanes for players like me who are dynamic at the rim.”
Here’s more on the Mavs:
- The Mavs hope to replace Jalen Brunson‘s production by having multiple players step up their play-making and ball-handling, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Both head coach Jason Kidd and guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who will be starting in place of Brunson, noted having Tim Hardaway Jr. back and healthy helps — Hardaway has averaged 15.7 PPG over his four season with Dallas, and Brunson averaged 16.3 PPG last season. Brunson inked a four-year, $104MM deal with the Knicks in free agency.
- In a mailbag Q&A for Mavs.com, Eddie Sefko predicts that Christian Wood will wind up starting more games than not, despite opening the season as a reserve. McGee is set to start at center, with Dorian Finney-Smith joining him in the frontcourt. According to Sefko, “Wood was brought in to be a starter,” but as long as he’s getting enough minutes, coming off the bench should be fine. If the team struggles with McGee starting, Wood could replace him sooner rather than later, Sefko adds.
- Kidd told reporters, including Townsend (Twitter link), that Tyson Chandler will have an expanded role working with the team’s big men this season. Chandler will also work with the frontcourt members of the team’s G League affiliate, the Texas Legends. The former Defensive Player of the Year won a title with Dallas in 2011 and last played with Houston two years ago.