The Nuggets played the Wizards in D.C. on Friday, marking JaVale McGee’s first time back in the District basketball-wise since being traded to the Nuggets before the start of the season.
Washington beat Denver 119-113, and McGee finished with nine points, four rebounds, no turnovers, and two blocked shots in 20 minutes off the bench. He’s now an an important player on a winning team, as head coach George Karl said afterward, but was known as a bit of a joke during his first few years in the league with the Wizards.
It’s not surprising, then, that McGee wasn’t exactly feeling warm and fuzzy about returning to Washington to play against his former team.
McGee received a smattering of boos, and some cheers, when he came off the Nuggets’ bench. He is known for a variety of things in Washington — potential, bonehead plays, highlight-reel plays and losing. He opened up a little more, saying in the losing team’s locker room: “It really wasn’t emotional at all. For some reason I have a selective memory, so I remember stuff I want to remember. So it wasn’t like I was having flashbacks, stuff like that. It wasn’t really that special to me.”
It’s hard to blame him for feeling this way.
McGee has developed into a serviceable big off the bench, and while he still makes some of those plays that make you want to bang your head against the wall because the decision-making process required to get there at times seems unconscionable, he’s flourishing with the Nuggets, whereas he was simply flailing with the Wizards.