For JaVale McGee, his collapse with the Phoenix Suns in the last postseason from the hands of Luka Doncic was convincing enough to make a switch and return to the Dallas Mavericks.
Per McGee, what Doncic has delivered during the Suns-Mavs seven-game bout gave him a lasting impression that the Slovenian sensation will make wonders for him as a high-flying big man.
“Seeing seven straight games of Luka definitely helped with the decision of knowing that he’s a player who gets everybody involved, and I like being around players like that,” McGee said, per Dwain Price of Mavs.com. “The LeBrons, Chris Pauls and players who get their teammates involved, especially big men. So that was definitely a selling point for me.”
Despite entering as the underdogs on their faceoff against 2021-22 regular season’s best Suns, Doncic shined when it mattered the most as a generational talent and leader of the Mavs.
In the clash between two of the Western Conference’s finest, Doncic stood up as the series best player, averaging 32.6 points, 9.9 boards, 7.2 assists, 2.1 steals in 47.6/33.8/75.9 shooting splits. In the pivotal Game 7, he chalked up 35 markers, 10 boards, four dimes and two steals in a highly-efficient 63.2 percent shooting to silence the Footprint Center crowd and spearhead the Mavs to an empathic 123-90 win.
His closeout performance served as a career-defining game, which gave the Mavs a seat to their first Conference Finals appearance for the first time since 2011.
“All the attention that (Doncic) draws and the way that this system is set up to have all the shooters around, it really opens up the lanes for players like me who are dynamic at the rim.”
McGee has inked a three-year, $20.1MM deal for his first stint in the club since 2015-2016 campaign. As coach Jason Kidd announced, he is poised to start at the Mavs’ five in front of sixth man Christian Wood.