Perhaps JaVale McGee really is the victim of several years of a horrendous culture. Perhaps JaVale McGee really is the one that gets away and makes the Washington Wizards pay several years down the road like predecessors Chris Webber, Rasheed Wallace and Rip Hamilton. But those are fears of the great unknown, and they say way more about things that have little to do with McGee than with McGee himself.
In the here and the now, the reality is this: the Wizards are creeping up on a day where they must start to view McGee as a certainty instead of a project, and McGee's demonstrated very little hope that he can be a certainty.
Blame whoever you want, but that's where we're at right now. The latest episode doesn't really tell us anything we didn't know already. Randy Wittman, fed up with McGee's inattention to detail and his inability to process all the things that he needs to process to play center in the NBA in 2012, benched him for the second half of Tuesday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Wizards went on a major run in the second half before losing, so Wittman rewarded the players who nearly won the game by giving them more playing time against Orlando. After McGee was reduced to a second-line player in what proved to be another relatively acceptable effort against the Magic, both he and Wittman revealed that they talked between games. When asked whether he "understood" Wittman's message, McGee said he didn't, but is sure he'll figure it out soon.
Wittman denied that he was sending a message at practice on Thursday, saying he was just coaching. But part of coaching is sending messages, and the message to McGee was strong. The Wizards have tried to figure out a way to coax some cerebral play from McGee's numerous gifts, and it just hasn't happened. Blame whatever factors you want on that -- McGee's physical condition stemming from his asthma, his lack of lateral quickness given his frame, his mother being in his ear, his own desire to skip algebra and go straight to advanced calculus -- but that's the reality.
And now, it's time for the organization to move on.