JaVale McGee picked up the loose ball, cradled his arm around it, rose up and threw it down a la Michael Jordan. Suddenly, in the Wizards' first Las Vegas Summer League game, McGee had stolen a sliver of hype from John Wall.

Hopefully, the third-year center enjoyed the moment. It's not the main reason he went to the desert.

Above-the-rim play and running the floor are what McGee has always wanted to define his game -- and it comes oh-so-easy with Wall feeding him the ball for easy finishes off the pick-and-roll -- but only defense and rebounding will turn him into a reliable starter this fall.

Washington is committed to beginning the year with McGee at center. Hilton Armstrong wasn't signed to start, Yi Jianlian isn't the preferred option at the five and Hamady N'diaye won't steal significant minutes. But like nearly the entire Wizards roster, it'll be up to McGee to earn a place in the team's long-term plans.

He didn't exactly seize the opportunity last season once Brendan Haywood was traded to Dallas. He was benched for Washington's final 12 games after starting 19 of 20 games immediately following the All-Star break.

Summer league isn't exactly a harsh proving ground either, but the JaValelevator did pull down a summer league-leading 25 rebounds in his first two Vegas contests, including 12 on the defensive end. Still, if he commits seven fouls trying to guard DeAndre Jordan in July, how's he going to fare vs. Dwight Howard in November?