It seems like the fortunes of the Washington Wizards are drastically changing. At the start of the season, they undoubtedly seemed destined to continue on as one of the biggest jokes in the NBA as they began the year with a record of just 4-28. However, with the return of John Wall in the middle of the season, everything started to turn around.
Wall’s return obviously provided the Wizards to where they held a 25-25 record over the last 50 games of the season. Wall’s ability to run the offense and open up opportunities for complimentary players like Bradley Beal opened up a world of possibilities for this Wizards team going forward. However, for them to potentially be a playoff team, they need Nene to live up to his massive contract.
Nene signed a five-year, $55 million contract with the Denver Nuggets, but the Wizards eagerly acquired him via trade during the 2011-2012 season, hoping he could bolster their frontcourt and help their franchise begin trending upward. Though the franchise is doing just that, it’s no real thanks to Nene.
Nene averaged just 12.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game on just 48 percent shooting this year in 27.2 minutes per game of playing time. He also had a defensive rating of 98.3, which is solid, but not for the surprisingly defensively sound Wizards. He also had a low rebound rate, grabbing just 13.7 percent of rebounds when he was on the floor. He put up decent numbers, but failed to have much effect on the game.
As Washington looks to the 2013-2014 season, Nene has to become more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor and on the boards for the Wizards. He has the size and athleticism to cause problems for opponents, but he failed to properly utilize them this season. If the Wizards want to become really dangerous, they have to find a way to make Nene more effective.