By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Rookie center JaVale McGee, the team's first-round draft pick out of Nevada, showed Coach Eddie Jordan enough during training camp and the preseason to earn a spot on the active roster for last night's regular season opener against the New Jersey Nets.
The Wizards deactivated second-year forward Oleksiy Pecherov along with injured veterans Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood. League rules allow teams to dress only 12 players, so Jordan will have a decision to make about which player to sit on a game-by-game basis.
McGee entered the game in the third quarter to warm applause. He missed all four of his shot attempts but did grab a couple of rebounds and block a shot in just less than nine minutes.
"Number one, JaVale's had a terrific preseason," Jordan said before the game. "You guys have seen the things he can do athletically. He's learned at a great pace. He's our first-round pick and I don't want our first-round pick, his first game at home after a good preseason, to be inactive. I think he deserved to be an active player tonight. . . . It's going to be like that every game, it's so close as to who we are going to activate and make inactive."
· NO MONITORING MINUTES: Jordan said he did not plan on consciously limiting the minutes played by his veterans. Last season, Caron Butler averaged 39.9 minutes per game, Antawn Jamison 38.7 and DeShawn Stevenson 31.3.
Butler was slowed by a string of injuries during the season's second half while Jamison and Stevenson held up well.
"I'm going to do what I have to do to win the game," Jordan said.
UP NEXT Saturday at Detroit7:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980 Wednesday at Milwaukee8 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980