Steph Curry has a quality that makes him the rarest form of superstar player – he is 100% about the team. Gregg Popovich describes those players as guys who “gotten over themselves” – Tim Duncan is the standard in that department. Yet, when asked about the best teammate he had, JaVale McGee said he would pick LeBron James over Stephen Curry as a teammate.
Warriors are like family for McGee
JaVale’s reputation has changed in the NBA. For a while, he was the Shaqtin’ A Fool guy, but it all changed when he was traded to a champion team like the Golden State Warriors. McGee played with the Splash Brothers in Golden State plus Draymond Green and Kevin Durant – one of the greatest teams ever.
“They do it right. They make it feel like family. They make sure everything is ok at home and good with you. Outside of basketball, they’re really meticulous about things like that, so I think that’s why they had so much success.”JaVale McGee, Bleacher Report
If JaVale felt the Warriors were family, why did he pick LeBron James as preferred teammate over Curry?
Stats prove McGee is better in Los Angeles
Stats show that McGee had a better season in his two years in Los Angeles. He averaged 9 points and almost two blocks per game, according to Basketball-Reference. In Golden State, he averaged 6 points and nearly a block per game. His numbers across the board were all higher, and the eye test confirmed it. McGee was more included in the offensive identity of that Lakers team.
With plenty of scorers in the team, such as Klay Thompson, Durant, and Curry, McGee’s role was more on the defensive end and crashing the boards. On the Lakers, he was more used as a pick-and-roll and lob threat. Playing next to LeBron, JaVale managed to actualize his basketball self.
It’s also important to note that he chose LeBron as a teammate in his first year with the Lakers. Interestingly, the team failed to win a ring that year. Choosing LeBron might have to do with The King laying the foundation of what it means to be a champion. He could have shared small things like changing his mindset or doing the little things in practice, making a big difference in the game.
Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.