Only two days before the highly anticipated NBA Finals matchup between Cleveland and Golden State, reports of trash talk have already emerged, coming out of the Cavaliers’ camp regarding Warriors center JaVale McGee.
ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin appeared on Tuesday’s edition of ESPN’s The Basketball Analogy Show alongside colleague Brian Windhorst, explaining to Windhorst that an unnamed Cleveland player believes that McGee doesn’t possess a sense for the game of basketball that is required when playing in the NBA Finals.
“I had a Cavs player disagree with your opinion of McGee, Brian. He postulated to me that he doesn’t even think McGee’s gonna be able to get on the court or certainly not stay on the court because he doesn’t think he’s quote, unquote ‘smart enough’ to be able to play in this series.”
JaVale has fared reasonably well this postseason in his limited playing time. Through 12 games, McGee has averaged 7.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 10.5 minutes a night, and he does provide that interior presence off the bench that the Warriors lost when they let go of Andrew Bogut.
Despite his above-average paint defense, McGee severely lacks discipline and general athleticism when stuck out on the perimeter, which the Cavs will look to expose, utilizing Kevin Love‘s floor-stretching ability, or through switches via a LeBron or Kyrie pick and roll with Tristan Thompson.
Whether these comments will get into JaVale’s head and affect his play negatively, or they’ll light a fire underneath McGee to prove his doubters wrong remains to be seen. Game 1 of the NBA Finals begin June 1 on ABC.