Newest Nugget McGee excited to contend


Newest Nugget McGee excited to contend

DENVER JaVale McGee, now with the Denver Nuggets, has a lot of catching up to do.

But that won't be the biggest adjustment he'll have to make.

Denver's up-and-down play suits McGee's game perfectly.

However, playing for a team with deep playoff aspirations is a major shift from his time with the Washington Wizards, who shipped him to the Mile High City just before the trading deadline.

All the physicals for the trade have yet to be completed, which is why McGee will not play tonight against the Boston Celtics.

But he's in the building, eager to hit the floor and prove his worth to his new teammates and coaching staff whose mindset is much different than the Wizards who are once again bound for the NBA lottery.

"It's definitely an adjustment coming from a non-playoff team to a playoff team," McGee told in front his new locker stall. "I'm definitely ready to change my mindset and get into more of a dedicated and playoff mindset."

Nene, the central figure that the Nuggets sent to Washington for McGee, will be missed by his Denver teammates, obviously.

But even they acknowledge that McGee's game is actually a better fit for their style of play which generates an NBA-high 103.8 points per game.

"He's going to really help us," said Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo. "His ability to block shots, and get up and down the court. That's how coach (George) Karl has us play. Hopefully that works out for us."

A big part of whether the McGee experiment works, will depend on whether he can ratchet up his focus, an absolute must for any team looking to make a strong playoff run.

"Teaching basketball is also teaching how to win," Karl said. "Mental toughness is just as important as physical toughness. It'll be interesting."

C's coach Doc Rivers has always been a fan of McGee's potential. And now that he's in a system that should play to his strengths, River believes McGee could develop into one of the NBA's elite players.

"He (McGee) has a chance to be a disruptive force defensively," Rivers said. "I mean, Dwight Howard-ish. Maybe the change of scenery, that will help him."

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner


Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.