For a team that is young, rebuilding, and awful like the Washington Wizards are, trading a young player like JaVale McGee for a guy ten years into his NBA career like Nene is seems like a strange move in some ways. In other ways though, it might also be a move made to enhance the overall sanity of an organization that’s kinda been out of control ever since Gilbert Arenas went Agent 007 a few years back. For as talented as JaVale might be, he may also never get that proverbial it that everybody’s looking for either. If nothing else, Nene will add stability and a professional voice to a locker room that definitely needs such things in Washington.
To that point, Nene told The Washington Post this week that he plans to do everything he can to help this young group of Wizards now that he’s in the nation’s capital too:
Nene, whose name is Portuguese for “baby,” is averaging 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in 28 games this season, slightly below his averages in both categories last year.
One concern is that he has played in every game during a given season just once during his career, and sat out all but one contest of the 2005-06 campaign when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his right knee on opening night.
He missed the majority of the 2008-09 season after having testicular cancer diagnosed.
Nene has been durable of late, however, including last year when he emerged as one of the more coveted free agents after opting out of another five-year contract. And though the playoffs are now out of the question this year with his arrival in Washington, he wants to be a leader for a roster that features eight players with less than two years of NBA experience.
“I understand God has a plan and the plan is to be here and I’m gonna do my best,” Nene said. “That’s all I can promise: Do everything possible to help the team, to help the young guys.”
Hopefully he does help those young guys. I think the situation that John Wall has found himself in is doing a bit of a disservice to both him and the League. In a more stable situation, one that maybe Nene could help to at least create a little bit, we might be able to find out how good Wall can actually be. Maybe they’ll even start winning in the process too.
Epke Udoh was also acquired by the Wizards last week as well, in addition to Brian Cook, in a trade that sent JaVale McGee to the Denver Nuggets and Nick Young to the Los Angeles Clippers. Nene had played all ten NBA season as a Denver Nugget prior to getting dealt last week.