All things end, whether good or bad. The trade that sends Nick Young and JaVale McGee to Denver concludes the run for two of the more interesting characters to ever play pro hoops in DC.
Both of these players were homegrown, first-round picks drafted by the Wiz. I remember my reactions to each pick; in 2007 with Young I wondered why the hell Ernie would take another guard, and in 2008 with JaVale I remembered being intrigued by his potential. If nothing else, JaVale was “long,” a characteristic much fantasized about on draft night.
Looking back, my reactions seem fairly accurate. Nick Young had some great games, but after five years in the league, he is just another guard. He can shoot. He cannot pass, he can defend on occasion, and he can certainly be entertaining on and off the court. He will never be an All-Star, and his lackadaisical attitude had been for too long a liability.
Losing JaVale is a bit more sad. The potential is still there, and JaVale showed flashes all the time. The guy has incredbile athleticism and a 7’1″ frame. He is still as long as the day Jay Bilas first described him. I remember Bullets trade of yore, giving up young, talented big men, and the prospect of a redux frightens me.
But no matter how much potential he had, JaVale just didn’t get it. He just did not get it. Maybe it was the coddling, maybe it was a mental block. Whatever the problem, the results simply did not work. Defensive lapses. Offensive miscues. If he can only put it all together, and he still can, he could dominate. But it was not going to happen here, not on Fun Street.
In the end, JaVale had to go. Nick had to go. If sunshine is the best disinfectant, you need to get rid of two players who could never get out of their own way, two players who rarely saw the big picture. If this is John Wall’s team, and it needs to be, the knuckleheads had to go.
JaVale and Nick, it has been quite real. Best of luck in your next spot. But can I say I’ll miss you? #CANTSAYIDO