JaVale McGee becomes a mentor to the 76ers young bigs
By Andrew Ford (@AndrewFord22)
Mentors are typically successful people. They have been there, done that, and conquered whatever path they began to travel long ago. They have learned from both successes and failures, and they are able to pass down knowledge and wisdom gained along the way to young people just beginning their hopeful journey to the top.
When JaVale McGee was dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline, he mentioned how he sees an opportunity to mentor rookie big men Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. The guy who once ran to the opposite end of the floor in an attempt to help his team stop a fastbreak only to realize that his team still had the ball, who still swats shots as deep into the stands as possible any chance he gets, and who generally has a goofy, carefree expression on his face wants to be a mentor.
To be clear, McGee is not terrible at basketball. He has a tremendous amount of raw talent, but he has mostly failed to channel that talent into consistently positive results on the basketball court over the course of his seven seasons in the Association.
If he is still trying to find his own way, how is he supposed to help others navigate the innumerable intricacies of the NBA?
It’s cynical to say that the thought of McGee as a mentor is a scary one, but is that line of thinking really so unjustified based on what we have seen from him in the past? What if he irreversibly screws up Noel and Embiid? What if he teaches them to do things the wrong way and they develop bad habits? McGee’s goal as a mentor seems to be to help them view the ups and downs of the NBA in a positive light, which could be highly beneficial. But what if he turns them into players who don’t take things seriously enough?
Of course, that is simply one spastic way of looking at things that might be a gross overreaction. Perhaps McGee will realize that others are counting on his guidance. Maybe he will demonstrate a great deal of personal and professional growth that allows him to thrive in his new role. Yes, I’m sure the career trajectories of Noel and Embiid won’t be negatively altered by McGee. The two youngsters will be just fine.
Now if I could just stop sweating and asking countless, negative “what ifs” every time I think of the long-term impact McGee could have as a mentor to rookies trying to find their way.
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