Nuggets' McGee dunks the ball against the Lakers during their NBA Western Conference basketball playoff game win in Los Angeles

Video: JaVale McGee working on the Dream Shake with the master


Just once I ‘d like to find someone who doesn’t look great working out with Hakeem Olajuwon. OK, I probably wouldn’t look great working out with Hakeem Olajuwon. But stick any NBA big man with arguably the best overall center of all time for a few hours in his gym and you’re going to walk away looking pretty sharp.

That said…

Man, does JaVale McGee’s game look good here. 

The fluidity of motion that Olajuwon talked about this week when McGee visited his training facility is apparent, but more notable is the way he’s working on establishing position with his back, and, ahem, hind quarters. Masai Ujiri said on Denver radio this week that Olajuwon stressed to McGee keeping his hand high on the release on his hook shot. There’s a pattern here.

When Dwight Howard went to work with Hakeem, all he brought back was a face-up jumper. If McGee manages to legitimately implement the basics of post work, not The Shake, not the dizzying array, just the basics, it will help him tremendously on the offensive end.

But the big key for him still needs to be to absorb what he can from Olajuwon’s defensive principles. That needs to be the focus, and yet it’s not known how much of Olajuwon’s skills can translate given the modern NBA’s reliance on rotation and help defense.

But still, he looks pretty good, right?

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.