There are some regular rotation players who will end up with very good courtside seats but sharply reduced minutes in the NBA Finals due to matchups. It happens every year.
One of those could be the Warriors backup bigs — JaVale McGee in particular. If Tristan Thompson isn’t on the floor it might be difficult to find a good matchup for McGee (plus the Warriors will likely play small a lot themselves this series). However, one anonymous Cavaliers player told Dave McMenamin of ESPN there is another reason McGeen could sit, a story the reporter relayed on ESPN’s The Basketball Analogy Show podcast with Brian Windhorst (hat tip to DefPen.com and Bleacher Report).
“I had a Cavs player disagree with your opinion of McGee, Brian. He postulated to me that he doesn’t even think McGee’s gonna be able to get on the court or certainly not stay on the court because he doesn’t think he’s quote, unquote ‘smart enough’ to be able to play in this series.”
There’s a little more motivation for the Warriors. As if blowing a 3-1 lead in the last Finals didn’t provide enough.
McGee has played well for the Warriors through the season and into the playoffs. He will get his chances. But if he is limited these playoffs it’s not about intelligence as much as it is matchups. Cleveland could face the same problem with Kevin Love, and improved perimeter defender but one who can be exposed out there and who will find himself in difficult matchups in this series.