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.
Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.
Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)