Warriors

Durant: 'Unbelievable teammate; he's the reason why we're so tight'

Warriors

In late July 2016, the Warriors invited JaVale McGee to training camp to compete for the final roster spot.

He signed a non-guaranteed contract for the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million.

It's safe to say that McGee exceeded expectations.

"He's an unbelievable teammate. He brought everybody together. He's the reason why we're so tight," Kevin Durant explained on The Bill Simmons Podcast. "His spirt. His open spirit. He's just always in a good mood. Just his own person. And everybody kind of gravitates to it.

[REWIND: JaVale gifts Draymond-themed blanket to every Warriors teammate]

"He was friends with everybody in a different way. A lot of people don't know that."

Over his first 15 appearances during the regular season, McGee averaged just 3.9 points and 1.9 rebounds over 6.6 minutes per contest.

But across the next two plus months -- 36 games and 10 starts -- he registered 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 10.8 minutes per night.

In the first round of the playoffs against the Blazers, he averaged 9.8 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting over 78 percent from the field.

He scored 12 points in Game 4 at Utah, and 16 points in Game 3 at San Antonio.

"He adds value to your locker room," Durant explained. "That's what underrated when you're playing on a good team, or a team that's thinking about a championship, versus a team that has so many other distractions -- because now, JaVale when he is on a bad team is a distraction -- now with us, it's an asset because he's bringing us all together."

 

McGee is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July and it's unclear what the market will be for the 29-year old.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller