When you have Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, not a lot of attention gets paid to the “spare parts,” so to speak. So when athletic center JaVale McGee left the Golden State Warriors for the Lakers this year, Warriors fans didn’t worry. After all, DeMarcus Cousins became a Warrior, ensuring no one would give McGee another thought. But Cousins still hasn’t played because of injury and McGee’s absence is sorely felt. He only played ten minutes a game for the champs, but he made an impact with 5 points and 3 rebounds in those bursts, on 60-plus percent shooting.
Even though the NBA is a 3-point league now, all speed and guard play and spread-the-floor ethos with 7-feet-tall wingmen like Durant and Giannis Antetokuonmpo, successful teams still require traditional big men to dominate inside, especially rebounding.
When the Detroit Pistons delivered the Golden Warriors their sixth straight road loss, despite Curry’s 27-point return, Pistons big man Andre Drummond grabbed 19 boards and the Pistons had 14 offensive rebounds as a team. Ouch. McGee may have been the all-time choice for “unusual” plays as featured on Shaquille O’Neal’s popular Shaqtin’ A Fool segments (McGee Shaqtin highlights here!), but the man was an important cog in the Warriors rotation on offense and defense. And he rebounded.