JaVale McGee not yet with Cavs, but they believe he’ll be ‘seamless’ fit

Los Angeles Lakers big JaVale McGee reacts in-game. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers big JaVale McGee reacts in-game. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

JaVale McGee is reportedly not yet with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but one shouldn’t be too concerned.

JaVale McGee was a nice trade pickup by the Cleveland Cavaliers recently, via deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s in particular, with a future second-round pick attached, too.

That McGee trade acquisition didn’t make headlines, really, but he should be a good backup 5 for Andre Drummond for stretches.

McGee, who had 6.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 16.6 minutes per outing with the Lakers last season, will be a formidable and active interior presence at both ends, more so as a roller offensively.

At this point, though, the Cavaliers reportedly haven’t had McGee in training camp, per’s Chris Fedor, albeit he should be in the fold soon. And the Cavs are of the opinion he should be just fine when he’s with the team/ultimately when the 2020-21 season gets going, per Fedor, which is reasonable. Fedor transcribed what Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said in regards to McGee’s fit, too.

"“McGee is not yet in Cleveland, sources say, but he’s expected to join the team soon. The Cavs believe he’ll be a seamless fit and even with these early absences, there’s optimism he will be able to get up to speed quickly.‘JaVale is a guy who has helped teams win titles and protects the paint and I think he benefits our young guys in a major way,” Bickerstaff said.’ His ability to protect them on the defensive end of the floor and then his ability to roll to the rim, I think he fits. Obviously Dre (Andre Drummond) can do those things as well so we think it’s a really, really good pairing. We think we can be versatile with how we play those guys. Obviously, we played a big lineup last year and we think we can do more of that, so you know, we’re fortunate to have the versatility there at those positions and the talent as well.'”"

McGee likely being a “seamless” fit with the Cavs as Fedor/seemingly Bickerstaff hit on is accurate.

McGee would project to be a hard roller and capable lob threat on the offensive end, and handoff deliveries from him to the likes of Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr. and Dylan Windler should help those pieces out.

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Along with his impact as a roller/dive man, as KJG’s Zane Harris demonstrated, McGee’s rolling presence and 7-foot, 270-pound frame should aid Cleveland’s perimeter shooters via off-ball screens. I would think that’d really pay off for Kevin Love, Cedi Osman, Windler and Damyean Dotson, for example.

Bickerstaff alluding to how McGee should be a formidabale interior presence defensively is right on the mark, too. McGee has had 3.2 blocks per-36 minutes for his career, to go with a block rate of 7.0 percent.

His presence in there, including a 7-foot-6 wingspan, should help other Cavaliers players, and deter drivers, to an extent, in his reserve minutes.

McGee is not a player that’s likely going to be on the floor over I’d imagine 17 or so minutes regularly, though, in large part due to fouling issues with him contesting/altering shots at the rim so actively.

Keep in mind, he has had 4.5 fouls per-36 minutes lifetime, and 5.1 in 2019-20. Nonetheless, his big body in the paint and as a roller/screener, to go with on the glass on both ends of the floor being believed to be a “seamless” fit as Fedor/Bickerstaff noted would appear to be accurate.

McGee’s role will be pretty clear with the Cavs, and I don’t want to discount how he’s had an offensive rebounding rate of 12.0 for his career, including 11.1 percent last season, which will show up game-to-game, too.

McGee, even at 32, should provide energy for the Cavs as well. And his ability to finish after running rim-to-rim in transition pretty regularly plays into that; he’ll aid Cleveland’s transition efforts in his minutes-share.

So even with McGee not yet with the Cavs, as of Saturday, he again, per Fedor’s report, should be “soon.”

In terms of a few other absences from Saturday’s training camp practice, though, to go with Friday’s, evidently (per a then-report from Forbes‘ Evan Dammarell), Cleveland was without Porter, Exhibit 10 player Levi Randolph and two-way player Matt Mooney.

As Fedor noted, Bickerstaff addressed that, after being asked if it was COVID-19-related, of which Bickerstaff said, “it was a combination of that and then the timing of when they were able to get here.” In the 20-year-old Porter’s case, he’s been working through legal matters, as Fedor hit on, regarding Porter’s recent arrest from last month, and his gun charge being bound to a grand jury was initially h/t WKBN’s Staff, for reference. Porter, as h/t WKBN, too, pled guilty to a “charge of failure to control.”

Fedor gave further context regarding Porter, anyhow.

"“He appeared in Mahoning County Area Court in Austintown on Wednesday morning for a hearing related to his felonious weapons charge, which stems from Porter’s single-car accident on Nov. 15. Porter was not injured or impaired, but Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers found a .45-caliber handgun and suspected marijuana in the car, leading to his arrest.On Wednesday, Judge Scott Hunter dismissed that marijuana charge, with a docket entry in the case stating the decision was made because there was ‘no valid statutory test at the state level.’ The entry also says prosecutors reserve the right to re-file a charge ‘whenever applicable under the constitution, statutes or criminal rules of the state of Ohio.’The gun charge will be handled by grand jury.'”"

Fedor then hit on how the Cavs hope Porter back soon, but are keeping things internal, hoping he can come back with a clean slate eventually. There’s no “specific” date for his return.

In terms of Mooney, he may be participating on Sunday in camp practice, whereas with Randolph, also per Fedor, after him recently playing for USA Basketball in the “AmeriCup Qualifying Tournament,” and with him having been signed on Tuesday, he needs to have gone through separate novel coronavirus testing protocols to participate in team, not just individual workouts.

That’s with how he was a player signed “on or after Dec. 1,” as Fedor noted, per the league’s guidelines. He could be back, per Fedor’s report, “at some point early this coming week.”

Anyway, we’ll see as far as those others, but what definitely jumped out here to me is that even with McGee not yet having been with the Cavaliers, him being a “seamless” fit would seem accurate.

He could fit in alongside Love, Larry Nance Jr. and if he were to make the team, which I’d imagine he would, honestly, McGee at the 5 with Thon Maker at the 4 for spurts could work out for Cleveland.

Next. Thon Maker should be a nice depth piece to have for the Cavs. dark

Hopefully, McGee is with the Cavs soon, though, and it appears he reportedly will be.