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JaVale McGee needs to step up in 2014-2015

The Nuggets come off a very dissappointing 2013-2014 season full of underachievement and injuries.  If there is to be optimism heading into next season, there are several things that need to happen for the Nuggs.  One such thing is the health and emergence of JaVale McGee as a dominant inside force that begets his $11 million salary.  Since McGee arrived in Denver in the trade with Washington in 2012, his stat line has regressed each season.  For his Nuggets career which spans approximately 2 1/2 seasons and 104 games played, McGee has averaged 9.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.  The JaVale McGee the Nuggets need to emerge next season is the one that went off against the Lakers in the 2012 playoffs for 21 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in a win at Staples Center.  If he is healthy this season, the expectation should be that he raises his game to the level the Nuggets thought he could when they signed him to the 4 year, $44 Million deal after the 2012 postseason.  The upcoming season will be like a tryout for McGee and if he does not make substantial improvement, it will be time for the Nuggets to move him and get something in return that can help the team.  His upside for success is undeniable as he has great athletic gifts and is a true 7 footer, but he may end up being one of those first round bust stories we hear about so often as a player who didn’t take the talents he possesses and achieve the success that was tagged for him when he was drafted.  This will be a critical element to the Nuggets success next year and I hope JaVale is working his tail off this summer to get healthy and improve in every area or the JaVale McGee era in Denver will be over almost before it got started.

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