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JaVale McGee says teams weren’t afraid of the Kings

McGee confirmed what many fans observed last season.
By | 54 Comments | Jun 4, 2024

Jan 5, 2024; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings center JaVale McGee (00) drives to the basket during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

JaVale McGee joined Whitey Gleason and Kyle Draper for a wide-ranging interview on Sactown Sports 1140 on Monday. He spoke about how the Kings being a winning team influenced his decision to sign with Sacramento, as well as the injuries and other factors that impacted Sacramento’s success last season. JaVale also praised Mike Brown, saying he deserved “exactly what he got” with his extension, and praised the work ethic of the Kings roster as a whole. Of course, all of those positive comments will get lost in the social media landscape, while one major criticism from the interview is currently making the rounds.

JaVale spoke about how the Kings have a lot of nice guys on the team, but the Kings probably need one or two “bad guys” on the roster (this conversation begins around the 11 minute mark). He goes on to say that other teams weren’t afraid of the Kings.

I think it’s great that JaVale said this. This has been obvious to anyone who watched the Kings the last two years, so I’m glad that the players (or at least JaVale) were aware of it as well. And to be clear, in the context of the full interview, I don’t think this was meant to be a dig at the team as much as it was just an acknowledgement of the reality. I wonder if JaVale’s candor suggests he already knows he’s not coming back next season, or if it’s just JaVale being JaVale.

The challenge is how to solve this issue. The Kings need a player to bring an edge to the team, but it needs to be a player who is still good enough to play rotational minutes. Nobody is going to care if the 11th man is a tough guy. And the talented players in the league who also bring toughness, such as a Bobby Portis, are fun dream trade candidates but aren’t easy to actually acquire. Monte McNair and the front office will have to try to find and answer.

 

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RobHessing
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June 4, 2024 12:13 pm

Trade for Chennedy Carter.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 4, 2024 2:01 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Yet you don’t want Draymond?

RobHessing
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June 4, 2024 2:03 pm

I’m a misterogynist.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 4, 2024 2:04 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Makes sense.

BeTheBall
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June 4, 2024 12:17 pm

Same old story for 2 decades now. Kings continue to not strike fear in their opponents. I agree with McGee that they need an enforcer or two. However, teams also know that the Kings will crumble under the first sign of adversity. Unfortunately, that’s a systemic issue with their leaders that a couple of rotation players won’t fix.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 4, 2024 12:33 pm

Been this way for almost twenty years now?

TheGrantNapear
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June 4, 2024 3:09 pm

Are you telling me Big Cuz wasn’t a tough guy? Lol.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 4, 2024 4:14 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

He talked a great game.

Cashing checks in Taiwan now?

He sold the remainder of his pride to play somewhere recently,

Jman1949
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June 4, 2024 5:10 pm

Cousins most often picked on guys that were much smaller than he was, though I do remember him making Valanciunas flinch.

And Boogie just earned an MVP award:

ClutchPoints: Former NBA All-Star Demarcus Cousins was named Finals MVP as the Taiwan Beer Leopards won the Taiwan T1 league Championship 🏆 pic.twitter.com/TP7ovBCXqQ

Source: Twitter @ClutchPointsApp

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
June 4, 2024 5:30 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

Mmmmmm…beer leopards

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Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
June 4, 2024 12:45 pm

Dunleavy calls up Monte on the 26th and offers Draymond for Barnes and the #13. Do it?

RobHessing
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June 4, 2024 12:54 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Nope.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 4, 2024 12:55 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

In a heartbeat.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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June 4, 2024 12:59 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

comment image
Sure!

BuiltToSpill
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June 4, 2024 1:01 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Feels like a knee-jerk reaction, thinking that one player will solve this problem as reported by JaVale McGee. Plus, I cannot disassociate my feelings about Dray as an NBA fan. I just hate watching his game, almost as much as I hate James Harden’s game. I agree with UpgradedToQuestionable above – improve the team defense. Get the Kings to a top 10 defense and it doesn’t matter if there’s a perception that anyone fears them.

murraytant
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June 4, 2024 2:09 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

no

TheGrantNapear
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June 4, 2024 3:10 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Preposterous for you to even ask this question. I’m sure Sabonis wants to play next to the dude that stomped him.

Sacto_J
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June 8, 2024 10:21 am
Reply to  Adamsite

So we can give him a season’s worth of DNP-CDs? Sure.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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June 4, 2024 12:50 pm

I find this perplexing. Maybe perverse is a better term.

Who’s the Nuggets “enforcer”? Celtics? Timberwolves? Dallas?

If the insinuation is that there is “win/lose apathy”, we could debate that more readily in my mind.

Domas isn’t intense enough? Is Dray Dray or Dillon Brooks – The Dawg – that Sac needs?
Need more chest beaters!? Emoters? OMG – what will they do to our beloved Keegan?
Give’em a scowl, I suppose.

For me, this current squad, personality wise, is a delight. Great group from the Front Office, Coaching staff, Roster. The two Stars: De’Aaron Fox is a complete charmer and Domantas Sabonis is also Golden, IMO.

After a loss, what do they say? Not too low and a win, not too high? Are we advocating higher highs, lower lows? I do agree that a tougher Defense will toughen Sac’s image.

Bobby Portis, sure. Marcus Smart – I like it. Jaden McDaniels/Herb Jones would be marvelous.

Just my opinion; Winning makes everyone a badass. Losing- losers who are tough are still losers.

RobHessing
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June 4, 2024 1:05 pm

Isaiah Stewart would be nice, too.

I think that the championship Nugs team could be looked at as a team that could go toe-to-toe with teams when a game got physical. Jokic is no joke on the court – he’s got some nasty to him. As does Aaron Gordon. And that team had Bruce Brown as well.

Looking at other recent NBA champions, you could probably point to guys like Draymond, Igoudala, LeBron (that roster also had KCP, Caruso, Markieff Morris, and a few others), Portis, Jrue, Lopez and Middleton on Giannis’ team, etc.

I don’t know if it’s as much of an enforcer thing as it is the simple ability to answer the call when a game gets physical and a little nasty. This roster seems to lack any level of nasty. To that end, I don’t think that this means that you need Draymond or Dillon Brooks. But if you swapped Barnes for Portis (much easier said than done), you make a significant change to the dynamics of this team, both on the court and in the locker room.

It can’t just be a tough guy for tough guy’s sake. But when I look at the Kings and the Nuggets, the most glaring difference to me (aside from Denver having the best player in the world) is the physicality that Gordon brings the Nuggets that is nowhere to be found on the Kings roster, much less the core rotation.

The Kings need a little nasty.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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June 4, 2024 6:08 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

And who can forget the days when The Kings had The Big Nasty
(Asst Coach for Minneapolis these days).

AnybodyButBagley
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June 4, 2024 1:06 pm

This team doesn’t really care when they lose.

Culture problem.

RikSmits
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June 4, 2024 11:00 pm

It’s hard to tell. Could be that they just shrugged off losses, as it is a long season and those losses come once in a while.

But I also think this year there was a bit of a “mission accomplished” vibe. The play-off draught was broken, so there was cause to rest on these laurels a bit.

It felt as if the players mostly went through the motions, the coaching staff mostly freewheeled and the FO mostly stood pat to see how it was to run it back. Easy to sell with the mantra of continuity.

Brown got rewarded for it, Fox missed a chance at a bigger payday and Monte is now under some level of pressure.

And we do not have enough players who respond when the game gets physical and a bit nasty.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 4, 2024 11:12 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Agree with what you said. It is beyond physicality though. It permeates the organization.

”You guys were up 25 in the third and lost by 22. What happened?”

”ummm I dunno we can’t keep doing that”

Winning cultures remove that attitude at all costs quickly.

AmateurNerd
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June 6, 2024 2:11 pm

Culture changes start at the top. Mike Brown needs to insist on his team playing a little more “nasty” when the game requires. The Nuggets can mix it up with anyone not just because Jokic and Gordon are on the roster, but bc Michael Malone is their coach, and MM doesn’t tolerate lazy, unfocused shit, from DeMarcus Cousins or anyone else.
That said, if Jimmy Butler were 2 years younger and I were Monte McNair, I’d move heaven and earth to acquire him. Talk about a culture change.

Last edited 1 month ago by AmateurNerd
Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 4, 2024 1:08 pm

So is there a guy at #13 or with the MLE that can be that difference maker on the defensive end to have an impact like a Bobby Portis or Marcus Smart? Tristan da Silva perhaps? Tyler Smith? DaRon Holmes?

Personally I like the idea of Keon as the starting 2 guard next year for his ability to be a disruption on defense and his ability to knock down that 3. It’s a legit PF to pair with Sabonis that is needed.

TheGrantNapear
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June 4, 2024 3:14 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Given the cap hell many teams are in, my hope is we can snatch a 4 up in a trade. Yeah I know our cap situation isn’t rosy, but other teams are in the tax already and may look to shed salary.
Dream scenario is trading for Portis or Naz.

Fox
Keon
KM
Portis or Naz
Domas

With Keon’s improvement as a defense first player, adding a 4 that is defensive minded and can stretch the floor would improve this roster a ton.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 4, 2024 4:37 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

It’s very possible that one of those guys could be available. Minny is in the 2nd apron, but may try and run it back next year. The Bucks, on the other hand, are in the first apron and have had two disappointing years. They may be willing ot move Portis for a cheaper alternative and some live bodies.

Lyles and a couple of seconds for Portis? Seems like a stretch, but the Bucks may be desperate to shed salary.

eddie41
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June 4, 2024 10:15 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

at 13, Tidjane Salaun can develop to be a difference maker on D.

ForKingsandCountry
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June 5, 2024 8:16 am
Reply to  eddie41

I would agree but it unfortunately looks like he’s going a lot higher than 13.

eddie41
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June 5, 2024 9:21 am

he might be on the board at 13.

SlamsonsRollerskates
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June 4, 2024 1:15 pm

We don’t have a single pitcher capable of throwing inside to clear a hitter off the plate or “sending a message” with a fastball to the ribs. Changeups and curveballs only go so far, as we’ve been seeing. Listen, all I’m saying is we need Randy Johnson at Small Forward. For too long we’ve been the cute dove innocently flying into a 100 mph fastball.

RobHessing
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June 4, 2024 1:30 pm

Kings basketball:
comment image
Owner: Vivek Ranadové.

SlamsonsRollerskates
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June 4, 2024 1:38 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Flight the beam

RobHessing
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June 4, 2024 1:42 pm

Light the beak!

Jack
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June 4, 2024 2:34 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Question: Can the Kings combine their MLE with their BAE( which they have this year) to acquire 2 players in free agency?

UpgradedToQuestionable
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June 4, 2024 3:45 pm
Reply to  Jack

Fowl ball!

Hobby916
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June 4, 2024 7:48 pm
Reply to  Jack

They have to use them separately.

TheGrantNapear
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June 4, 2024 3:15 pm

Any reference to the big unit deserves a rec.

TheGrantNapear
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June 4, 2024 3:08 pm

I’ve said it ad nauseam for months that we need some dogs on this team. Glad to see McGee speak up on the lack of toughness on this team and the nice guy syndrome.
Portis would be an amazing acquisition on many levels. Fills the toughness whole and the glaring hole at the 4.

murraytant
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June 4, 2024 3:42 pm

Agree.

Get some nasty.
There are a few wings out there but will nay make a difference? D. Jones, O’Neil and Marshall or will they stay with “home team”?
The choices of 3/4’s are suspect- Grant, Kuzma, Ingrahm. Collins ( gosh no)
The 13th pick can be used for a better t player than any of these or just kept. There are 13 players of note in this draft- Carter is close to the 13th and a solid pick but the Kings have too many guards.
Monk + Marshall + Valentunas + Carter would be better but not good enough.
Anything involving Markenon would be an upgrade, but Utah wants to keep him.

There are a lot of teams over the cap and with not much chance – except in their own fantasies of making a splash,- that there simply must be some opportunities- might have to come at trade deadline when they are dead in the water.
But JaVale, Len, Duarte, Davion, Huerter, Barnes, Sasha and Edwards are all expendable
There is talk of “great off season movement” but that means every team wants to move players to themselves not away from themselves.

rockbottom
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June 4, 2024 6:09 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Agree that there are probably 13 good players in this draft and expect more than half to be selected in the late 1st and early 2nd .

HeuristicLineup
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June 5, 2024 6:29 am

Wasn’t that partly his job?

AnybodyButBagley
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June 5, 2024 6:38 am

Maybe he was thinking he just had to look tough because he wasn’t playing?

RobHessing
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June 5, 2024 7:49 am

Maybe, but when you’re 13th on the team in minutes, you’re really not positioned to be that guy.

And even if he had earned more minutes – say, give him every one of Len’s minutes – he still would have only been 10th on the team in minutes, which still doesn’t make him THE presence.

Sabonis, Murray, Barnes, healthy Trey Lyles. That is your current front line rotation, and I think that is where this team needs a dash of nasty. And there is not a Portis or Stewart or Steven Adams among them. And therein lies the issue, I think.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 5, 2024 8:27 am
Reply to  RobHessing

I hear Miles Bridges has the occasional nasty in him and I hear he’s available.

RobHessing
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June 5, 2024 9:27 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I want a little nasty, not a lotta douchebaggery. So no to Miles, Dillon, Draymond. I’d like the volume on nasty turned up from 0 to 6 or 7, not 11.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 5, 2024 9:38 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Hahaha, I only jest and agree with you 100%. No head cases.

Hobby916
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June 5, 2024 9:40 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Technical Foul, Demarcus Cousins.

aplumley
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June 5, 2024 11:47 am

Yeah, I can see how this is the case when Trey Lyles is the closest thing to an enforcer on the team. It can’t be Sabonis or Fox either. Keegan will never be that. Adding a starting 3-4 that has a bit of an edge while not being a distraction would be great.

NowLoveThemOnceAgain
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June 5, 2024 8:18 pm

Ron Artest and Reggie Evans come to mind as Kings players who were feared by others.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 5, 2024 10:24 pm

Artest AKA Meta was a great all around basketball player too. If a player was intimidated by him he had the skills to take advantage of that.

ajonez81
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June 8, 2024 6:01 pm

Fox and Sabonis are hardworking players with good character but pretty soft honestly and it trickles down from there. They both need to get a little nastier, I like the trash talking Fox and not just when guys talk to him but he needs to instigate. I also like the D.Bone that is trying to irritate guys and maybe throwing himself around a bit to get calls, he does that sometimes.

Carl
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June 9, 2024 2:01 pm

I’m firmly of the belief that folks are conflating a lack of toughness with a lack of talent. The Kings are performing at or above their talent level, in my opinion, and adding more “tough” players would make little or no difference.

That being said, the Kings *do* have a number of players who can be counted on to shrink in big moments, headlined by Huerter and Barnes. Monk and Fox aren’t guys who are going to fistfight you make a dirty play against the other team, or whatever the “toughness” criteria is, but they are not afraid of the moment.

Again, the larger problem is talent. But the secondary problem is guys who can’t step up when it counts, and you don’t need to be Draymond, Ron Artest or whoever for that to be true.

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