Cavs: JaVale McGee will provide energy off the bench

Los Angeles Lakers big JaVale McGee dunks the ball. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers big JaVale McGee dunks the ball. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

JaVale McGee will give the Cleveland Cavaliers a spark off the bench.

Recent Cleveland Cavaliers trade acquisition JaVale McGee, who was paired with a Los Angeles Lakers 2026 second-round pick, is a more than serviceable backup 5 for Andre Drummond.

McGee, who had 6.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per outing with L.A. last season, is a solid interior presence at both ends as a 7-footer, and is a competent on and off-ball screener.

That should help out the likes of Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr. and Matthew Dellavedova some on-ball, and players such as Dylan Windler, Kevin Love and/or Damyean Dotson off-ball.

In a general sense in his reserve minutes for Cleveland, though, McGee should give the squad some juice in-game.

McGee will provide energy for the Cavs off the bench.

McGee is not a player you’re going to run offense through/for by any means, as he’s not much of an on-ball threat, though he can hit some jump hooks at times.

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But again, he’s a hard and active roller, and for his career, the veteran big has hit 70.7 percent of his shot attempts in the restricted area. That included him hitting 70.2 percent from there last season, per’s shooting data.

Him getting his share of lobs in his action in there should give the Cavs a spark, I would assume, in his minutes backing up Drummond. And probably of equal importance from there, McGee’s threat as a roller/dunker role guy could help open up perimeter shooters such as Sexton, Cedi Osman/Dylan Windler and/or Kevin Love.

In addition, McGee, who again is not a player Cleveland’s going to feature much on-ball, is a constant offensive rebounding threat, though. Last season with L.A., he had an offensive rebounding clip of 11.1 percent.

For his career, that clip has been 12.1 percent, also; that sort of thing should aid the Wine and Gold, similarly to Drummond’s ability to generate extra possessions, too.

Defensively, McGee’s activity on the interior as a rim protector should have an impact as well, and that could give Cleveland some momentum in-game. McGee is not a player that you want having to switch out much, but his 7-foot-6 wingspan definitely plays into him altering shots in the paint.

Last season, he had 3.0 blocks per-36 minutes, and I’d think his presence near the basket should deter drivers to some degree in his reserve minutes.

So to further drive it home, in minutes off the bench, McGee should provide the Cavaliers some juice with his activity at both ends near the basket. And potentially with his ability to block shots, he could free up some transition opportunities for Sexton and Isaac Okoro, among others.

In any case, while Drummond should be an expiring trade piece for Cleveland this coming season, seemingly at least near the 2021 deadline, McGee could fill in as a stop gap big for a good chunk of games following that. And I’d assume the Cavs would look to bring back a 5 as part of a potential trade package, anyhow.

Maybe Drummond fits well and does stick around through the deadline, though, albeit I wouldn’t really expect that.

Nonetheless, in relation to McGee for a good chunk of next season I would think, even at 32, he should provide the Cavs energy with his interior activity at both ends.

Could he potentially be involved as an expiring piece in a trade at some point? Maybe, more so if Drummond were to stick I’d think and/or perhaps McGee, whose due to make $4.2 million in 2020-21, could be bought out possibly. But we’ll see on both accounts.

Either way, he could very well give the Cavaliers some juice in reserve minutes, for the most part, next season. Hopefully there aren’t too many Shaqtin’ moments, of course.

Next. 2 goals for JaVale McGee for next season. dark

However, I wouldn’t imagine that’ll be a huge issue, also when considering how his experiences in winning three championships with the Golden State Warriors and Lakers in recent seasons could help the Cavaliers from a culture-building standpoint, too.