Since signing LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers have assembled a team full of versatile wings and guards. The center position remains something of a question mark, but the one major addition made was former Golden State Warriors big man JaVale McGee.
While many know him for some questionable plays on the court, McGee played a big role for the Warriors in each of the last two NBA Finals. Now he’s excited for this new challenge. “It’s an amazing experience to just be here,” McGee said.
“I’m definitely ready to get to it. The way Luke likes to coach and play is fast, so I’m definitely a right fit for that type of system.”
McGee is already familiar with the young, returning Lakers and is impressed with what he knows of them. “The young Lakers are good guys,” he said.
“Real good guys who are hungry and in the gym all the time and really focused. It’s really impressive with the spotlight on them how focused they are on their craft.”
Of course, McGee is also excited to play with and learn from James. “Being behind the scenes and being able to see how he keeps his motor up is an amazing thing,” McGee said. “Being able to see that is definitely going to be inspiring and it can probably enhance my game to be in better shape and stay healthy throughout the season.”
The question for many is whether the Lakers’ combination of youth and veterans will be able to compete with the two-time defending champion Warriors. “Yeah, it’s definitely possible. But it’s not going to be easy,” McGee said.
“Obviously they have five All-Stars now, four immediately. But it’s definitely going to be defense over anything. Going into playing the Warriors you’ve got to be extremely focused just because the Warriors like to play off of every single mistake that you make, especially turnovers, so keeping the turnovers down and playing great defense will definitely enhance our chances of beating the Warriors.”
Luke Walton has been stressing defense since he was named head coach, and the Lakers made huge strides on that front last season. Turnovers have been an issue, but the addition of more ball-handlers such as Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson, as well as the development of the existing young core, will hopefully help to curtail that.
Whether it is enough to compete with the Warriors remains to be seen, but McGee is confident that his new team will at the very least make waves this season.
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