How JaVale used Varejão as motivation to make Warriors roster

Varejao KD JaVale Warriors bench

JaVale McGee entered Warriors training camp ahead of the 2016-17 NBA season on a non-guaranteed contract.

At that point in time, the No. 18 overall pick from the 2008 NBA Draft was in danger of ending up out of the league entirely.

Did he fear that things wouldn't work out in Golden State?

"No offense to my guy Anderson Varejão. But Varejão was there my first year and I was like, 'If I can't make the team and play over Varejão, it ain't meant to be. I ain't supposed to be in the league,' " McGee explained this week on Yahoo Sports' "Posted Up with Chris Haynes" podcast. "I believed in myself from the jump, like, 'Yeah. I'm gonna make this team. That's no an issue. The issue is what I'm gonna do with this opportunity.'

"So that's all I was worried about. That literally was never in my mind, 'Oh, I'm gonna get cut.' It was more, 'I need to play more or I want to catch more lobs or just more opportunity.'

"That's all I really wanted."

McGee earned a spot on the Opening Night roster and appeared in 77 games (the Warriors waived Varejão in early February). And despite playing just 9.6 minutes per contest, he averaged 6.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks, while shooting 65.2 percent from the field.


The fan-favorite registered 15 points, five rebounds, four blocks and one steal in Game 2 of the Warriors' first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers, and followed that up with 14 points in Game 3.

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McGee also racked up 16 points in 13 minutes in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals vs. the San Antonio Spurs.

"They [the Warriors] told me [before the season], 'We want you to run the floor and catch these lobs from Draymond [Green],' " McGee explained. "And I'm like, 'Hey. Say less (laughter). Say less.' That's music to my ears."

McGee was terrific in his role with the Dubs and loved his time in the Bay Area.

And when fans are allowed back inside Chase Center, he will receive loud applause whenever he plays there as a member of the visiting team.

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