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JaVale McGee has uneven outing in Team USA scrimmage


I'm not here to watch Jay-Z. I'm here to make the team. (REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)


The World Basketball Festival showcase at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday was truly an audacious affair, with dancers, a marching band, comedians, legendary hip-hop producer DJ Premier spinning music and a 24-minute, intrasquad scrimmage followed by a Jay-Z concert. A red and blue basketball court was placed on the same floor where the Rockettes high-kick every winter, creating a unique -- perhaps strange -- experience for a basketball game, made all the more weird since it ended with a rare, sudden-death overtime (which Team USA point guard Chauncey Billups said he probably hasn't done since fifth grade).

JaVale McGee certainly wasn't one to get caught up in all the pep-rally-like bells and whistles surrounding him. When the 15 remaining players contending for Team USA's final 12 roster spots were announced, each walking down a tunnel of dancers, McGee high-fived the girls and kept walking to his spot next his teammates on the white team without pausing to take a photo or waiting for applause from the fans.

With an audience that included 2008 Olympic gold medalists LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul, late Team USA scratch Amare Stoudemire and rappers Fabolous and Jadakiss, McGee hardly had a memorable performance, as he played sparingly, scoring just two points with one rebound and two turnovers. After the game, McGee admitted that odd court, which had the audience on one side, with a wall on the other was a bit "awkward," but he wouldn't use it as an excuse for an uneven game.

"It was a little awkward being on that stage, but I got over it," McGee said. "I think I played okay. I had little spurts."

He really had just one spurt, in the second half, when teammate Lamar Odom drove down the lane and dropped off a pass to McGee for an uncontested two-handed dunk. His night got off to a inauspicious start, as he got the ball at the top of the key and attempted to drive on Tyson Chandler. McGee backed down Chandler, but it appeared that Chandler pulled the rug out from under McGee as McGee stumbled backward and threw the ball over his head and off the backboard as he fell to the ground.

"My foot slipped and I was falling," McGee explained. "I had to throw it up before they called travel and hope somebody would rebound."

McGee was cutting to the basket in the second half when Billups tried to sneak in a pass that bounced off McGee's chest. He later had a bounce pass intercepted, which appeared to signal the end of his night -- until the game was tied at 47 at the end of regulation. McGee was inserted in place of Odom for the jump ball, which he lost to Chandler. Chandler batted the ball back to Rajon Rondo, and when McGee left Chandler free following a broken play, Rondo tossed an alley-oop lob to Chandler for the blue-team's game-winning dunk.

Before the game, Team USA Managing Director Jerry Colangelo said that the team could keep all 15 players until it is forced to submit its final roster on Aug. 26. But afterward, both Colangelo and Coach Mike Krzyzewski said they might inform the 12 players that they plan to keep, while letting the remaining players hang around and practice with the team. The Americans will practice on Friday, scrimmage China on Saturday (with McGee facing his new teammate Yi Jianlian) and face France on Sunday. They will then head for Europe to play Lithuania, Spain and Greece before competing in the world championships in Istanbul.

McGee, added back to the team last week only after Brook Lopez was forced to pull out because of mononucleosis, is likely on the outside looking in. Chandler can serve as the prototypical center and Odom adds some much-needed versatility and playmaking ability at the position.

"All these guys have done a good job, but at some point, you have to move on," Krzyzewski said.

Jay-Z hit the same stage about an hour later, but McGee didn't have any interest in checking out the hip-hop mogul in concert for the first time. McGee said he was headed back to the hotel room instead. He also was already focused on practicing and preparing at the New York Knicks facility in Tarrytown on Friday.

"What time is the first bus?" McGee asked, hoping to be among the first to leave the team hotel and get in some work.


By Michael Lee  |  August 13, 2010; 12:46 AM ET
Categories:  JaVale McGee  
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Comments

No doubt not Javale's best game! However, I choose to focus on the positives and I'm looking forward to a breakout season for this superstar-in-the-making. Unlike in the Team USA scrimmage, with the Wiz he will get extended minutes on the court and benefit from someone (Mr. Wall) actually looking to set him up and utilize his athleticism. As to what has been a deficiency up till now, namely his lack of strength, a "Phil27 family" observation as of last night:

I watched the game with my 17 year old son who had been away all summer and hadn't seen Javale in Summer League play. When my son first noticed him on camera, he remarked "Is that him? He's so much bigger and stronger looking"!

Posted by: phil27 | August 13, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

From Yi: On first playing basketball
"I started in first grade because I was so tall. I wasn't very good, but I loved it and didn't play other sports. After grade school the government put me in a sports school."

I guess that blows your whole playground instinct theory on Yi. If he sucks, it's just because he sucks. Not because he didn't play enough hoops as a child.

Posted by: ts35 |

He sucks because he has no instincts or aggression based on whatever he was or was not doing with said ball and basket in China. Just because you put a basket on a pole and have a ball around does not mean they are playing BASKETBALL.

I know kids that have a basket and a ball and don't play basketball. They play "around the world" and other games that, outside of shooting the ball, has nothing to do with the game. They don't play one-on-one, they don't play two-on-two, three-on-three, five-on-five, nothing. They just shoot and play around. THAT AIN'T BASKETBALL.

If I go out there to stir up a real game, it becomes obvious that they are clueless, and not basketball aggressive as the opposing team is at a disadvantage because I know how to play and nobody else does. These kids are between 18-20 years old and I'm in my 40's and play hardly ever anymore.

So no, you blow nothing out of the water, because a 7fter in China is playing what? against who? Shooting, and that is the only skill he seems to have. Becuase if he had been playing REAL basketball for 15-20 years, he would have the ability to make a basketball play. Making a wide-open jumper is not a basketball play. Dunking a ball is not, when you are wide open under the basket.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

There's one silver lining here: The hard knocks Javale is experiencing with team USA will make it less likely that he associates problems fitting into the offense etc. exclusively with Flip and the Wizards. He's being recognized and experiencing some success, but is hearing from a lot of other respected people about where/how he needs to get better. I like his attitude, so far.

Posted by: jweber1 | August 13, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

It's all going to be for his good...Plus McGee will eat Chandler up in the regular season when he has to get up and down the court! Javale was on a much more half court centered team which we ALL know is not a strong suite of his...But the experience of being able to be efficient in the half court to go along with his ability to get up and down the floor will bode well for him. If I remember correctly the last scrimmage javale recieved his passes from Rondo who is a blur up and down the court.

Posted by: SkinzFan4lyfe | August 13, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"Becuase if he had been playing REAL basketball for 15-20 years, he would have the ability to make a basketball play. Making a wide-open jumper is not a basketball play. Dunking a ball is not, when you are wide open under the basket.Posted by: G-Man11"

Y'know, this is a dumb argument. Yi spent his youth in a government-funded magnet school for kids with sports talent. So did Yao Ming. Both have well-developed fundamentals (shooting, ball handling) and yet on an NBA court, they're very different players. You could say the same about Dwight Howard and Eddy Curry, who grew up playing in some of the toughest playground leagues in America. Talk about different levels of toughness and instincts.

The thing you notice about Howard is his lack of offensive skills. Whose fault is that? He's certainly had the coaching. How come he can't hit a simple jump shot? A reliable turnaround hook? It's not because he came up on the playgrounds of Atlanta. It's because he wasn't interested in learning, and he's been able to get by without it.

Playground basketball produces some great stars, but it also produces those guys on the And_1 videos, and that's not a style any real basketball player should emulate.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

The fella can't wait to get back in the gym. Has he always had that attitude?

Very refreshing. Kinda hard to square up McGee now, with the player some have been describing here and the way he has been coached so far with the Wizards.

A raw talent we all agree, but the Wizards have been a tough love team.

I really wish that McGee makes the final 12. The practice with the team is a good thing, but I don't think that if I were him I would want to know ahead of time that I am being cut.

I think that would be counter productive, for the players will approach everything differently if they know ahead of time which 12 it is going to be.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 13, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"And y'all scared I can tell
I'ma get bucks like Milwaukee 'cuz like Sam I ca' sell"

Posted by: RedDMV | August 13, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I'd hope that McGee would work out with Team USA until the 26th even if he's not going to Turkey. For Wizards fans what we want see is improvement. The more work he gets, the better off he'll be.

JaVale's situation isn't much different then it's been, the team needs the added depth to practice. He's also insurance if another big goes down. If he makes the team he'd definitely be a towel waver in Turkey.

But the more of this coaching and exposure to top flight players he can absorb, the better off he'll be.

One observation about Yi, the level of coaching in China lags about as much as the level of competition. Even today their player development still has a ways to go to catch up to the world, and Yi started in it 15-17 years ago. I think the Chineese started off using old films of Iba's USA Basketball from the 40's to the 60's.

For you younger guys watch Hoosiers to know what I'm talking about. Very set peice, burn the clock, play. It's a system where every basket is to come off a set play. Not the NBA for sure.

That's not to say Yi can't develop into a solid NBA player, but he came here way behind the curve compared to most NBA players. Flip's going to have a chore getting McGee and Yi minutes and teaching them on the job while trying to compete in the NBA.

Based on what I saw at summer league, Wall could be a great help, he seemed to have uncanny ability to put the ball where McGee could do something with it. Wall built up McGee's confidence and got him going. In many ways Yi is a very similar player, except he's a more developed shooter.

It's just good to see that both guys are getting a lot of work in this summer, because they both need it...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 13, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards will be lucky to win 30 games this year. Hopefully, after the season, Leonsis will clean house and get rid of Grunfool and Flipper. Grunfool's been living off of a couple of nice moves he made like five years ago, and Flip simply sucks. We'll go nowhere with those two at the helm.

Posted by: sonny2 | August 13, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@Samson151,

I agree with your explo of two sets of players having two different games coming from the same environment.

However, I think the reason is a lot more complicated than "It's because he wasn't interested in learning, and he's been able to get by without it"... as you put it.

When a player coming from any environment reaches the NBA, I think you have to give that player some credit for having an interest in learning.

Now granted, and I think this goes more to your point, what the player learned may be telling about the sophistication of his game, ala developing a basic hook shot, but we can't just say the player had no interest in learning.

For, when you say that, you are really speaking to the players ability to learn and I don't think you want to go that far.

It sounds too much like McGee is a dumb player that some have said here.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 13, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"That's not to say Yi can't develop into a solid NBA player, but he came here way behind the curve compared to most NBA players. Flip's going to have a chore getting McGee and Yi minutes and teaching them on the job while trying to compete in the NBA.posted by flohrtv"

The flaw in this argument is that Yi doesn't lack skills. According to the articles we've been reading here, he's among the most athletic 7' players in the NBA. Apparently what he lacks is productivity in proportion to his talent, and post defense.

Same as McGee, if you think about it. Javale grew up in Detroit and Chicago, attending Detroit Country Day (home to Chris Webber and Shane Battier) among other schools.

I'm pretty sure the coaches there weren't looking at Hank Iba videos. Maybe that's the problem, huh? Hank taught post defense.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Y'know, this is a dumb argument. Yi spent his youth in a government-funded magnet school for kids with sports talent. So did Yao Ming. Both have well-developed fundamentals (shooting, ball handling) and yet on an NBA court, they're very different players. You could say the same about Dwight Howard and Eddy Curry, who grew up playing in some of the toughest playground leagues in America. Talk about different levels of toughness and instincts.

The thing you notice about Howard is his lack of offensive skills. Whose fault is that? He's certainly had the coaching. How come he can't hit a simple jump shot? A reliable turnaround hook? It's not because he came up on the playgrounds of Atlanta. It's because he wasn't interested in learning, and he's been able to get by without it.

Playground basketball produces some great stars, but it also produces those guys on the And_1 videos, and that's not a style any real basketball player should emulate.

Posted by: Samson151

If it a dumb argument, why are there so many players in the NBA with instinct and the ability to make plays with roots on the blacktop. It has nothing to do with And-1. That is your naivite. Playing 5-on-5 in a competitive environment breeds instinct according to your talent.

Curry is just a big guy. He has offensive ability and instinct. Howard is tall and athletic, and his instinct is on the defensive end. He has the ability to make plays defensively. No basketball player is perfect so stop looking for it. You can critique every player in the league and find a flaw. Most have instincts and the ability to make plays, whether it is rebounding instincts like a Rodman, setting up a player for an assist, timing and anticipating rebounds or blocks, playing aggressively instead of passively, comes from instinct, because if you don't have instinct, you are passive. And you get left in the blocks. Somebody else takes the rebound and makes a play.

You said "Both have well-developed fundamentals (shooting, ball handling) and yet on an NBA court, they're very different players." And Yi is a decent athlete. Why is he watching while on the court? Why doesn't he make basketball plays? Lack of aggression bred by a lack instinct.

Sure you can say he can't play. But a lot of why the U.S. is the best country in the world in basketball has to do with what was bred on the blacktop. And these countries are further behind then people think too. Not one foreign player came from overseas and led his team to a ring, if that player was brought over at the time of drafting. You may argue Tony Parker, but Spurs are led by Duncan.

I hope Yi grows as a Wizard and learn to make a basketball play. That's all.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Becuase if he had been playing REAL basketball for 15-20 years, he would have the ability to make a basketball play. Making a wide-open jumper is not a basketball play. Dunking a ball is not, when you are wide open under the basket.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Actually...that's not true at all. There are quite a few players who have been playing basketball all their life streetball until now without the ability to make a "basketball play" Nick Young comes to mind, Gerald Green, Gerald Wallace when he first got in the league. Streetball has NOTHING to do with making "basketball plays"

And you think a open jumper isn't a "basketball play" tell that to DeShawn Stevenson.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure the coaches there weren't looking at Hank Iba videos. Maybe that's the problem, huh? Hank taught post defense.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2010 10:26 AM

Great point Samson151. This also goes to that the environment contributes to the development of the player. Mitigating the point that player had no interest in learning.

Look at it this way. One school of thought is in most cases different than the next one.

Lets ask ourselves this question.

Would Jabbar have perfected that hook shot if he had a different coach than John Wooden?

You could answer no to that question. All big men in Jabbar's day and even before him did not develop hook shots, but it seems that no big men today develop hook shots.

Why?

Is it more that players today are not being taught fundamentals pursuant to their talents, or is it because the players today are dumber and have no interest in learning?

I think you get what I am saying now and why I don't like leaving everything on the player.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 13, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Actually...that's not true at all. There are quite a few players who have been playing basketball all their life streetball until now without the ability to make a "basketball play" Nick Young comes to mind, Gerald Green, Gerald Wallace when he first got in the league. Streetball has NOTHING to do with making "basketball plays"

And you think a open jumper isn't a "basketball play" tell that to DeShawn Stevenson.

Posted by: SDMDTSU

What makes it not true? There are no guarantees for success, and nothing is 100%. You named 3 players in Nick, Gerald Green and Wallace, out of how many in the league now. Why did you neglect to mention Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, Paul, Wade, LeBron, or the 100's of others? Blatche, Baron Davis, Deron Williams, Amare, Bosh, Gilbert, Josh, I can go on and on, but you picked out those 3? Wow. You were better off not saying nothing.

And Nick can make a play other than a jumpshot. You never seen him penetrate and dunk on somebody? You never seen him block a shot or make a hustle-play ever? He needs to do it more, I agree. But it is in him to do it.

Those 3 players do not prove a point.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Why do y'all assume Yi wasnt doing and1 videos in china? He is a sick athlete and 7ft tall, probably spent his whole pre-nba bball career dunking on shorter players. In fact, he was known as a slasher in China because he is a tall, great athlete, with a handle. He was exactly the type of super-ups playground baller so many disdain when they are American. But what happened is he played China against guys who were 6'5" or whatever. When he came here and faced his athletic peers, he shrunk into a shell and became a jumpshooter. And not a very good one at that, despite all the talk.

What's needed is to get him out of that shell and back to playing the way that got him drafted 6th.

And that's just on offense, the real work will be to get him adequately defending.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

shame javale didnt play better, however if all that comes from this TeamUSA business is the apparent work ethic evident in this write-up....i'll call the summer a smashing success and a million thanks to CoachK

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

pretty interesting discussion, i'm 100% onboard with G-Man11 in that the best muthaeffin bball players in the world are born and molded right here in the USA. Personally I think guys who are athletic often dont get enough credit for also being smart players. Conversely, a guy like Pau doesnt always get enough credit for his athleticism. Seems like international players are always grouped as "smart and so fundamentally sound" while Americans are considered to rely on sheer athleticism. Horse manure, I say

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Agreed divi3.

If CoachK just improves McGee's shot blocking mentality and makes him fundamentally sound in his approach to shot blocking, that would be huge for me.

You know that shot blocking is a learned skill and what would McGee's shot blocking detractors say if all of a sudden this year that McGee learned how to become quite adept at it all the way around?

Would that alone make him a smart player, or would it be more appropriate to say he has been a smart player all along that needed direction?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 13, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"Seems like international players are always grouped as "smart and so fundamentally sound" while Americans are considered to rely on sheer athleticism."


This is a very, very old debate. The only new spin is the swap out of "international" for "white" and "American" for "black."

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't think people are questioning McGee's intelligence. It's his understanding of the game. They're not synonymous. Maybe McGee is a good illustration of a player with fabulous 'ups' who felt he should be able to get by on the spectacular play rather than dreary fundamentals. He wouldn't be the first. Shaq said he never bothered to really learn to play the game until his athletic ability began to wane. Perhaps the same thing will happen with McGee.

Of course, McGee wasn't playing against 6'5" Chinese amateurs, so that can't be his excuse.

Interesting that Wiki notes Javale's high school coach as describing him as a natural small forward who could also play PF. No mention of center.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone has ever called JaVale dumb. They've said he doesn't grasp fundamentals.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

btw, here's Yi's pre-draft clip. Watched about 4 minutes, not a SINGLE jumpshot outside the paint. Everything is dunks, putbacks, moves in paint, and pure athletics. The whole notion he's a guy who can only shoot is actually opposite of reality. He's a guy who doesnt shoot that well, but has stopped doing what he did best. Amazing how aggressive he was back in China and how passive he is here, I remember his rookie year he was clearly intimidated by nba players. If being here a few years and spending the summer in Florida has raised his confidence, maybe he can get back to playing in his pre-nba style which looks much more like a natural PF.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6plJTvMW04

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Both USA team and the wiz are going to get something out of JM if he try to play like a 7 footer.He run very will have a good transition offense with Wall but i do not know how many games we will win.

Posted by: gtefferra | August 13, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: SDMDTSU

What makes it not true? There are no guarantees for success, and nothing is 100%. You named 3 players in Nick, Gerald Green and Wallace, out of how many in the league now. Why did you neglect to mention Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, Paul, Wade, LeBron, or the 100's of others? Blatche, Baron Davis, Deron Williams, Amare, Bosh, Gilbert, Josh, I can go on and on, but you picked out those 3? Wow. You were better off not saying nothing.

And Nick can make a play other than a jumpshot. You never seen him penetrate and dunk on somebody? You never seen him block a shot or make a hustle-play ever? He needs to do it more, I agree. But it is in him to do it.

Those 3 players do not prove a point.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Would you like for me to name every player in the NBA who played streetball that couldn't cut it?

How about Manu, Dirk, Pau, Yao, Tony Parker, Loul Deng, Okur, Barbosa, Nene, Bogut, Turkoglu...you want me to name every successful international player? Yeah there are more American players in the AMERICAN sport.

But don't act like they haven't been waxed by international players in recent years.

Can you honestly say Yi can't do any of the things you listed? You remember him dunking on Melo in the Olympics?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOzjo27nFMc

A baseline spin-out into a dunk sure looks like a basketball play. Wish JaVale would learn how to do that.

You sound like Europeans saying Americans suck at soccer. It's THEIR sport.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

btw, here's Yi's pre-draft clip. Watched about 4 minutes, not a SINGLE jumpshot outside the paint. Everything is dunks, putbacks, moves in paint, and pure athletics. The whole notion he's a guy who can only shoot is actually opposite of reality. He's a guy who doesnt shoot that well, but has stopped doing what he did best. Amazing how aggressive he was back in China and how passive he is here, I remember his rookie year he was clearly intimidated by nba players. If being here a few years and spending the summer in Florida has raised his confidence, maybe he can get back to playing in his pre-nba style which looks much more like a natural PF.


Posted by: divi3

Again, back to the streetball thing, which part of is trash talking and intimidation. I have seen it happen. A player gets punked, and then he stays outside the paint.

I am not saying Yi got punked, but that what it sounds like. I felt LeBron got punked against Boston. Y'all need to stop faking like it ain't real. If you don't want to get physical, talk trash in the paint, then shoot nothing but jumpers.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

It's like people don't expect Yi to experience the same things that happen to "normal" players. Was he hyped sure. So what?

You think any other rookie isn't intimidated coming into the NBA? I don't understand why he should be any different.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

You sound like Europeans saying Americans suck at soccer. It's THEIR sport.

Posted by: SDMDTSU

Then why are you arguing with me? I didn't say Yi sucked. I am pleased with the pickup. I said he lacks instinct and aggressiveness, and much of it derives from streetball. Chinese, by all accounts, don't even want to look you in the eye. You think KG won't stare down Yi? Look him dead in his eyes from point blank range. If hasn't already happened. Yi has the talent. Does he have the heart? KG put Blatche thru a heart-check last year. Blatche didn't resort to just shooting jumpers the next game against Boston.

Just because somebody can jump, shoot, and dribble does not = basketball instincts.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"KG put Blatche thru a heart-check last year. Blatche didn't resort to just shooting jumpers the next game against Boston. "

Last season was Blatche's 5th in the NBA, and his first as a supposed "go-to" guy. In previous years he did, in fact, shy away from contact and resort to jumpers instead of mixing it up. It's something he (maybe) grew out of, but it took him a while. Yi's only got 3 years in, so if you're putting him on the Blatche plan, he's two more seasons of leeway.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Would you like for me to name every player in the NBA who played streetball that couldn't cut it?

How about Manu, Dirk, Pau, Yao, Tony Parker, Loul Deng, Okur, Barbosa, Nene, Bogut, Turkoglu...you want me to name every successful international player? Yeah there are more American players in the AMERICAN sport.

But don't act like they haven't been waxed by international players in recent years.

Can you honestly say Yi can't do any of the things you listed? You remember him dunking on Melo in the Olympics?

A baseline spin-out into a dunk sure looks like a basketball play. Wish JaVale would learn how to do that.

Posted by: SDMDTSU

Where did I say there weren't successful international players? What some of y'all want to do is fake like streetball = And1, when And1 has not been around that long.

I said name 1 that led his team to a ring. I didn't say complimentary player. I said LED.

What I said was YI lacked instinct and aggression. Can he gain the instinct? Yes. Can he gain the heart and aggression? Questionable.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"A baseline spin-out into a dunk sure looks like a basketball play. Wish JaVale would learn how to do that."

Javale has done that, possibly against Okur, but i cant quite recall...but definitely last season, spin baseline around opposing C and dunk.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Kalo

How old is Blatche? How old is Yi?

I never felt that Blatche shot only jumpers. He played in the paint before last year. Last year was the first year that Blatche really had the opportunity to make plays with the ball, but that instinct I talk about, was ALWAYS there with Blatche. You also saw the streetball in Blatche too last year, with his passes, some of which were not wise, but you see the instinct, as he is developing into one of the better passing 4's in the game.

He flashed those instincts before last year.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Not one foreign player came from overseas and led his team to a ring, if that player was brought over at the time of drafting. You may argue Tony Parker, but Spurs are led by Duncan.

I hope Yi grows as a Wizard and learn to make a basketball play. That's all.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

__________________________________

Might want to check where Duncan is from and when he started playing there, chief.

Posted by: babalugats | August 13, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Might want to check where Duncan is from and when he started playing there, chief.

Posted by: babalugats | August 13, 2010 1:31 PM

US Virgin Islands, american citizen at birth.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Might want to check where Duncan is from and when he started playing there, chief.

Posted by: babalugats | August 13, 2010 1:31 PM

US Virgin Islands, american citizen at birth.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Where he was a swimmer until high school. I guess he got that instict from pick-up swimming.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

It's like people don't expect Yi to experience the same things that happen to "normal" players. Was he hyped sure. So what?

You think any other rookie isn't intimidated coming into the NBA? I don't understand why he should be any different.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse


Yi may have come into the NBA with more hype surrounding him than LeBron had, in a sense. He's had the ENTIRE country of China watching him. Why do you think they don't have him on All-Star ballots? They know that he would be a shoo-in, vote # wise, because the entire country is standing behind him, rooting for him.

The only other player in the entire NBA who has had a country as large and populated as China standing behind nearly him alone was Yao Ming.

Posted by: TDAV | August 13, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"Not one foreign player came from overseas and led his team to a ring, if that player was brought over at the time of drafting. You may argue Tony Parker, but Spurs are led by Duncan."

The last time the Spurs won the title, Parker was MVP of the Finals.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Not one foreign player came from overseas and led his team to a ring, if that player was brought over at the time of drafting. You may argue Tony Parker, but Spurs are led by Duncan.

I hope Yi grows as a Wizard and learn to make a basketball play. That's all.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

__________________________________

Might want to check where Duncan is from and when he started playing there, chief.

Posted by: babalugats |

Did you not understand what I said? Obviously you didn't comprehend. Duncan was drafted out of Wake Forest. I said "if that player was brought over at the time of drafting."

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 13, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Might want to check where Duncan is from and when he started playing there, chief.

Posted by: babalugats | August 13, 2010 1:31 PM

US Virgin Islands, american citizen at birth.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 1:39 PM

Puerto Ricans are American citizens at birth too. Doesn't change the fact that P.R. is a a foreign country with culture and customs much different than the U.S.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"The Wizards will be lucky to win 30 games this year."

I think 30 is a stretch.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | August 13, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Some good stuff here. Anybody got a good guess on what three players might not make the team or have less of chance than McGee?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 13, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Puerto Ricans are American citizens at birth too. Doesn't change the fact that P.R. is a a foreign country with culture and customs much different than the U.S.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2010 2:27 PM

You might want to brush up on your geography, Puerto Rico isnt a country at all. It's a territory of the USA.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"You might want to brush up on your geography, Puerto Rico isnt a country at all. It's a territory of the USA."

And, by virtue of being a U.S. territory, everyone born there is born with U.S. citizenship, just like the Virgin Islands. But the fact remains that Puerto Rico has its own customs and cultures that are very different from those of the U.S. No one in their right mind would say that being born in P.R. is the same as growing up in the U.S. So the fact that Duncan was born with u.S. citizenship in the V.I. doesn't alter the fact that he grew up in essentially a foreign culture.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Here is the video for USA basketball sudden death (jump ball started around 3:30 mark):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncdwRIJohSY


McGee was heading down court before his teammate secured the rebound, and that resulted in Chandler's dunk.

Posted by: sagaliba | August 13, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"here's Yi's pre-draft clip. Watched about 4 minutes, not a SINGLE jumpshot outside the paint. Everything is dunks, putbacks, moves in paint, and pure athletics. The whole notion he's a guy who can only shoot is actually opposite of reality. He's a guy who doesnt shoot that well, but has stopped doing what he did best. Amazing how aggressive he was back in China and how passive he is here, I remember his rookie year he was clearly intimidated by nba players."

Yeah, he was against players who are simply not as good as he is. It is different in NBA where players are more athletic, and he just can't go inside like he was able to do back in China anymore. And you are right about he is not a good shooter.

Posted by: sagaliba | August 13, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

And Nick can make a play other than a jumpshot. You never seen him penetrate and dunk on somebody? You never seen him block a shot or make a hustle-play ever? He needs to do it more, I agree. But it is in him to do it.
Posted by: G-Man11

Yi had 52 blocks last year, but I guess those were accidents, not basketball plays? He dropped 20pts and 19rebs on the Wiz. Oops, I guess he must have tripped into those rebounds. 19 times.

No one is saying he's a great basketball player, and he definitely does look like he lacks aggressiveness. So do a lot of other young players, foreign and domestic. He reminds me most of a 7 footer the Bulls used to have named Brad Sellers, who was also drafted high. Tall, lean, lots of athleticism, apparent skill, not enough heart. Which is a fair criticism of Yi. It just doesn't have anything to do with where he's from.

He played on the national team and he came to the US and played in the same ABCD camp as LeBron and Sebastian Telfair, so he'd seen more of the b-ball world that just whatever you imagine Chinese hoops to be. Yao himself has criticized him for not having enough heart. I don't think he would do that if it was something endemic in Chinese basketball culture.

Take away the 'China' part and what does he look like? A 3rd year pro who hasn't figured it out yet and may never. Certainly plenty of those around. Certainly plenty of US-born players who not only spent all of their time on playgrounds but also on all of the AAU teams who still can't make fundamental basketball plays.

All Yi is is another very athletic player who hasn't lived up to his athleticism or translated it to the court. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing to do with being Chinese stunting his basketball 'instincts'.

Posted by: ts35 | August 13, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

^^ 100% TRUTH stamped

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

No one in their right mind would say that being born in P.R. is the same as growing up in the U.S. So the fact that Duncan was born with u.S. citizenship in the V.I. doesn't alter the fact that he grew up in essentially a foreign culture.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2010 2:53 PM

I havent been to USVI for about 10 years, but last time I was there half the kids were wearing Iverson jerseys and there were bball courts. Not saying it's identical to the USA, but it sure aint China or Uzbekistan

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I havent been to USVI for about 10 years, but last time I was there half the kids were wearing Iverson jerseys and there were bball courts. Not saying it's identical to the USA, but it sure aint China or Uzbekistan

Posted by: divi3

#1 selling Jersey in China is Yao (no surprise). #2? Kobe. They have cable TV and the internet over there too, and everything. China ain't exactly Uzbekistan either.

Posted by: ts35 | August 13, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

the basketball in china is crap compared to many, many other countries in the world. 10yrs ago it was even worse. Yi could have been a much better player had he grown up here.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

http://www.nba.com/news/chinajerseys.html

I may be incorrect. This article is from 2007. As of 2007 Kobe had the best-selling jersey in China. Yao was sixth.

Posted by: ts35 | August 13, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

the basketball in china is crap compared to many, many other countries in the world. 10yrs ago it was even worse. Yi could have been a much better player had he grown up here.

Posted by: divi3

Certainly possible, but certainly not definite. And not really the same thing as saying not playing on the playgrounds in the US has somehow hurt his 'instinct'. Considering the he followed essentially the same path as Yao Ming, would it fair to say there might be more factors at work than just environment?

Posted by: ts35 | August 13, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

i'm sure if Yi was 7'6" he'd be having more success.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"You said "Both have well-developed fundamentals (shooting, ball handling) and yet on an NBA court, they're very different players." And Yi is a decent athlete. Why is he watching while on the court? Why doesn't he make basketball plays? Lack of aggression bred by a lack instinct. Posted by: G-Man1"

I don't see where you've said anything in support of your argument. Just stated your opinion. Again. I wouldn't know how to respond except to say, IMO, you're wrong.

"You say he can't play. But a lot of why the U.S. is the best country in the world in basketball has to do with what was bred on the blacktop. And these countries are further behind then people think too. Not one foreign player came from overseas and led his team to a ring, if that player was brought over at the time of drafting. You may argue Tony Parker, but Spurs are led by Duncan."

More unsubstantiated opinion. I wouldn't know what to argue with. I would point out that the reason USA basketball started using NBA professionals is because the college kids weren't able to win at the Olympics. And then had to go out and recruit the very best NBA players because the second-tier NBA group was struggling. What you're seeing in the world is steady improvement from other countries, to the point where they're able to challenge the US in international competition.

That's in a game we proudly call our own. Oh wait -- James Naismith was Canadian.


Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

" Yi could have been a much better player had he grown up here.Posted by: divi3"

Or he could have been Eddy Curry. Or a really tall Stephon Marbury.

If you're going to give the playgrounds credit for success, you should let them share blame for the problem children, too.

My own opinion: ultimately, it comes down to the individual.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

i'm sure if Yi was 7'6" he'd be having more success.

Posted by: divi3

Really? Shawn Bradley didn't. He had all of the US advantages and was 7'6".

Posted by: ts35 | August 13, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"i'm sure if Yi was 7'6" he'd be having more success.Posted by: divi3"

Maybe that's Nick Young's problem -- he stopped growing too soon.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

bradley played what, 12yrs or so? He was more effective than Yi, that's for sure.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

when it comes to basketball, everything here is superior to China. Coaches, programs, competition, training, EVERYTHING.

300 million people in China play basketball, that's probably 6x more than play it here in the USA. If it was all just the individual, chinese all-stars would be the norm.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

bad math there. probably more like 2x how many people it here

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"bradley...was more effective than Yi, that's for sure.Posted by: divi3"

LOL talk about changing the subject. The comparison wasn't with Yi, it was with Yao Ming, the NBA player who was the same height. Yao grew up in basketball-impaired China, so how come he's so much better than Shawn Bradley ever was?

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

"when it comes to basketball, everything here is superior to China. Coaches, programs, competition, training, EVERYTHING. posted by divi3"

You know, not all that long ago, that would also have been true of Italy and Spain. Not so much now, huh? And with the Russians throwing $$ around, maybe they're eventually in the picture, too.

"300 million people in China play basketball, that's probably 6x more than play it here in the USA. If it was all just the individual, chinese all-stars would be the norm."

I can tell you that David Stern thinks that just might happen over the next few decades.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I'd characterize a room service, uncontested dunk as a 'spurt'. If Team USA is ever in a position where it has to play McGee for significant minutes, the might not be able to beat Team Monaco.

Posted by: randysbailin | August 13, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone has ever called JaVale dumb. They've said he doesn't grasp fundamentals.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

In other words, they're merely implying that he's dumb.

Posted by: randysbailin | August 13, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

What I find laughable about this whole discussion is that clearly Yi had enough athleticism and skill to make it to the NBA, and average 12 and 7 last year, which, even on a horrible team are ok numbers. Yet somehow he seems to lack some sort of rudimentary basketball instinct that is supposedly possessed by all US players including such standouts as Eddy Curry.

If Yi isn't a great jump shooter, it's because basketball sucks in China. If JaVale can't hit a jumper it's because he's raw, or Flip doesn't play him enough, or because he had a growth spurt. Michael Beasley averaged 14 and 6 in basically the same minutes, played no D, and he's just a flake, no one's blaming the basketball in Frederick, MD for his deficiencies.

It can't just be that Yi ultimately just isn't capable of being that good, or doesn't have real interest in being a great basketball player, somehow it's got to be where he's from.

By the way div, do you have reference for those numbers, or are you just guesstimating?

Posted by: ts35 | August 13, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone has ever called JaVale dumb. They've said he doesn't grasp fundamentals.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

In other words, they're merely implying that he's dumb.

Posted by: randysbailin | August 13, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

No. It's saying that he's raw. He was a wing player who shot up to be a 7 footer. He doesn't have the fundamentals of a big man. It's not a difficult thing to understand. I didn't say he can't read. It means he needs to develop. Or you could say it could means he needs to improve his focus level. Not leaving for the break before the PG has the ball. BASICS. Not having footwork, positioning skills...does that mean he's dumb?

There are a lot of players that come to the league without basic fundamentals. He just happens to be more raw than most.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 14, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

It is undeniable that Yi have great athleticism and basketball skills. The ability to use either hand. Those are things you cannot teach. Does he fully understand how to play NBA style basketball? No. So much so that he had to go out on his own and seek outside help and get consultation on how to utilize his skills and improve his understanding of the game. The evaluation on his 5 week training Florida suggested that Yi was not embraced as a basketball player during his time in America. Why is that? Three years in the league and no one took the time to show him the right way.

Confidence is everything. To bring out the best in anybody’s ability you have to have confidence. In the interview on Yi’s workout, Thorpe said, I wanted Yi to be comfortable. And told the other players, including Kevin Martin of the Houston Rockets and Corey Brewer of the Minnesota Timberwolves, to treat Yi like family. And it didn’t take long for Yi to become close with several of his fellow trainees.”

“All of a sudden, his personality came out, and he became a fun guy to be around. He brought spirit to practice. He was just a different guy,” said Thorpe

Posted by: spades72 | August 14, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

So much talk about instincts.

How can a player be skilled and athletic but lack instincts? How do you separate instinct from talent? I would think that the two are synonymous. A lot of you on here might have a good understanding of how the game of basketball should be played but do not have the natural ability to actually play the game. Understanding how to play the game can be taught but not having the natural abilities to play is definitely a no go.

If a player is in a situation where he is constantly thinking what to do then there is no instinct. It's all about confidence and being in a comfort zone. If you understand how to play the game the natural abilities will come automatic.

Posted by: spades72 | August 14, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

I am not saying Yi cannot play in NBA past next season; but my bet is, he will not be good enough for Wizards to shell out 5 and half millions just to retain his right. (Think Randy Foye.)

Posted by: sagaliba | August 14, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

300 million people in China play basketball...

300 million may of played the sport, but they aren't playing it regularly. If they did then basketball courts in China would be as common as Starbucks here in the U.S. I think the 300 million figure is an NBA creation that doesn't just happen to coincide with the U.S. population.

Posted by: djnnnou | August 14, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

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