Newest Nugget McGee excited to contend

Newest Nugget McGee excited to contend
March 18, 2012, 1:38 am
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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 CSNNE.com 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."