JaVale McGee Believes He, Dwight Howard Have To Stay Engaged When Not Running Pick-And-Roll
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With Anthony Davis and LeBron James being teammates for the Los Angeles Lakers, odds are a majority of the set plays will run through them.

That means players like JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, who are used to being the pick-and-roll man, might have to take a step back offensively.

This was a struggle for the big man duo in the team’s season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. In that game, Howard and McGee simply could not find ways to get involved and it led to them getting lost offensively, struggling to grab rebounds, and fumbling on the defensive end as well.

McGee spoke about what needs to happen for the two of them in order to remain an active part of the offense, while not being directly involved with the play at hand.

“Set screens. Get to plays that involve us more than just being a dunker,” McGee said. “Move around, be able to set screens — on-ball screens or off-ball screens — and just keeping the bigs active.”

McGee also spoke about what he and Howard struggled to do defensively in the game against the Clippers and how it can be improved.

“Just defense. I mean not even in that second quarter, in the first quarter too. I could’ve been out more on Lou and Kawhi, so just defense,” McGee said.

McGee and Howard need to bring a rim-protecting and team-first mindset on both offense and defense if they want to be successful. McGee seems to already have that and he showed it last season when — for a time — he looked like a real Most Improved Player candidate.

Now, the question will be if he and Howard can figure it out while splitting minutes and accepting a role that doesn’t always involve getting the ball down low. If they can, then it should be a fun season for the duo. If not, then it’s possible that one or both of them won’t finish this season with the team.

It’s still early and there are a ton of moving parts on this team, so odds are this will be worked out.

But if the first game was any indication, the two centers need to have a serious talk about where they go from here.

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