JaVale McGee

Warriors to rotate trio of centers as starter based on best matchup

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AP

Warriors to rotate trio of centers as starter based on best matchup

OAKLAND -- With the Warriors driving toward the postseason, coach Steve Kerr is ready to make a few changes, one of them involving his centers.

Though Zaza Pachulia has been the usual starter, he will come off the bench for the second consecutive game Saturday, when the Warriors face Oklahoma City.

JaVale McGee is making his second straight start, a move that will delight a vocal segment of the Warriors fan base.

And once rookie Jordan Bell returns -- he’s physically ready but the Warriors are being cautious -- he also will be added to the equation.

“The rotation could change,” Kerr said prior to tipoff against the Thunder. “We’ve got a ton of centers and they all do different things. We could start any of them.

“And it may turn into a matchup thing, based on who we’re playing.”

Kerr declined to commit to Pachulia returning to the starting lineup, so count on matchups being the primary factor.

If the Warriors are facing a physical bruiser, Pachulia could get the call.

If it’s a hyperactive 7-footer, such as Thunder big man Steven Adams, McGee will be the likely starter.

If it’s a bouncy young athlete, such as Houston’s 6-9 Clint Capela, expect the Warriors to turn to Bell.

Asked specifically what his plans are over the final 22 games, Kerr said he had not decided.

“Right now, obviously, we’re just going with JaVale to see how this looks,” he said. “It was a good result the other night.”

Facing Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan on Thursday, McGee started and played 14 minutes in a 134-127 Warriors victory.

JaVale McGee: Warriors want playoffs to arrive, 'we're definitely anxious'

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AP

JaVale McGee: Warriors want playoffs to arrive, 'we're definitely anxious'

Did you know that the Warriors aren't taking the regular season as seriously this year?

Of course you knew that already.

During the All-Star break, JaVale McGee told Vice Sports about the state of the team right now.

"I feel like we’re definitely anxious," McGee explained. "I feel like everybody’s going through the season like 'Playoffs. Hurry. Up.' Because it’s a whole different atmosphere. People think that because we went 16-1 last year, like it was easy. It wasn’t easy.

"Those teams were playing hard. We were just, everybody was just so in sync and we were all in playoff mode. It was just amazing like, everybody was like 'Yo, we’re in the playoffs, like, it’s time.'

"The regular season wasn’t anything. When the playoffs come around it doesn’t matter what your record is, and that’s the thing that I admire about the guys. They don’t care what the record is. They don’t care if we went undefeated."

The Warriors find themselves trailing the Rockets by a half game for the top seed in the Western Conference.

They have struggled in the first quarter of games all season and the defense has slipped.

But Steve Kerr is optimistic that Golden State is "primed to really take off."

It just may not happen as soon as Warriors fans are hoping.

"We just know that in the playoffs you definitely have to step it up," McGee added.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

With NBA trade deadline looming, JaVale braced for possible move

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USATSI

With NBA trade deadline looming, JaVale braced for possible move

OAKLAND -- The rumors, some of the valid, began circulating weeks ago that the Warriors were willing to part with popular big man JaVale McGee. One day before the trade deadline, nothing had changed.

As the hours tick down, the Warriors are prepared to have a roster without McGee, and he is prepared to join another team if he’s moved prior to Thursday’s noon deadline.

“I’ve been traded plenty of times,” the 7-footer said after practice Wednesday. “It’s a business. It’s the NBA. It’s how my career goes. So I’m not really worried about that. If I get traded, I get traded. If I don’t, I don’t.

“I don’t want to get traded. But if I do, I’m not complaining or badmouthing anyone. It’s a business.”

McGee was a significant contributor to the Warriors last season, playing in 77 games, including 10 starts, in which he averaged 9.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 16.4 minutes. He shot 69.2 percent from the field when starting and 65.2 percent overall.

With high energy and ability to play above the rim, McGee became a favorite among Warriors fans.

This season has been much more of a trial for McGee, who returned on another one-year deal, this one worth $2.1 million. He has been healthy all season yes has not played 16 times 54 games. He’s available now because minutes that formerly went to him started going toward Jordan Bell, and then Kevon Looney.

Several teams are known to have had an interest, including the Bucks and the Celtics. Boston dropped out of the running when it signed Greg Monroe. Milwaukee still is shopping.

Asked how he can remain focused on the game while aware of the trade talk, McGee said he’s used to it.

“I was forced to keep this mindset,” he said. “I’ve been traded before.”

The Warriors are McGee’s fifth NBA stop. Drafted by the Wizards 18th overall in 2008, he has since played for the Nuggets (via trade), the 76ers (trade) and the Mavericks (free agency) before joining the Warriors as a free agent in September 2016.