It’s the old adage that every fan thinks they could run a team better than the actual coaches. You’ve heard it before. In football, the offensive coordinator is always clueless and if they would have ran what the fans said, the team would have won the game. Of course, it’s easy to say they should have run a different play after the original one failed, but don’t tell the fans that.
The Nuggets franchise is facing one of these situations now. The Nuggets re-signed center JaVale McGee to a four-year, $44 million contract in the offseason. With this type of money on the table, one would think that McGee would be the starter and finisher down low in games.
Instead of McGee playing starter minutes, he’s sitting behind Kosta Koufos as Denver has decided to bring him along slowly. While George Karl said the team doesn’t regret giving him the extension, he still has said that he has a lot of developing to go through.
Don’t tell that to the fan base though. If it were up to them, McGee would be playing 48 minutes each and every night. While that may be a stretch, are the fans actually right in this case?
While McGee is notorious for making highlight reel mistakes on the floor, he’s also capable of breaking out “did you see that” type dunks or blocks as well.
Take for example their game against the Houston Rockets last week. McGee got the ball at the top of the key, dribbled, pumped fake and then threw himself an alley-opp off the backboard. Yes, threw it to himself. When Karl was asked about it postgame, he said “I’m just glad he made it.”
But as often as the 7-footer makes an explosive play like that, he’ll also commit a dumb foul or make a mental error on the offensive side. Karl has said time and time again that he’s going to play the guys that give him the best chance to win.
At this point, McGee is averaging 18.7 minutes, 10.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game for the Nuggets. If you look at the Nuggets team PER rankings though, McGee leads the team and by advanced metrics, is their best player on the floor.
So in this case of battle of the fans and team, who has it right?
To me, I’m always going to side with the organization who are more knowledgeable and put hours upon hours into decisions like this. While I enjoy watching McGee’s athleticism as much as the next person, bringing him along at his current pace will benefit him, the team and even the fans in the long run.