Wizards Are Better Following Nene Trade, But How Much Better?

March 22, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards center Nene (42) leaps to pass the ball to Wizards power forward Trevor Booker (35) as Indiana Pacers power forward David West (21) defends in the second half at Verizon Center. The Pacers won 85-83. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

You are what your record says you are, eh? I despise pithy truisms; they lack the specificity, the context, essential to meaningful analysis. And yet the damn things always seem to pop up from most worthwhile angles (and of course tv personalities live by them). From a tanking perspective, the Wizards are sitting pretty at 12-40, good for second-worst in the NBA and an excellent shot at the number two pick (after David Stern flips the Hornets Anthony Davis). There's no reason to jeopordize the long term health of any key roster piece by playing hurt (or anything approaching hurt, really) and if we tank in the process, that's just gravy, isn't it?

The Nene trade has changed the face of this team, but I can't tell you exactly what that face looks like, not yet. With the flashes of improvement from Kevin Seraphin to the impassioned play of Trevor Booker to Nene Hilario getting comfortable in Jan Vesely's ear to Jordan Crawford suddenly feeling awful lonely when a knucklehead shot gets launched, it's impossible not to like this mix of players far better for the rebuild.

But how much has the team actually improved? The injuries that kept both Nene and Book out of Sunday's game in Toronto are benefiting someone besides the Michael Kidd-Gilchrist/Thomas Robinson/Bradley Beal enthusiasts...Ernie Grunfeld.

Those who are less than smitten with our resident GM were mostly underwhelmed by the deadline deal...believed that it seemed more like just enough fireworks to brighten his resume as the time comes to re-up before the outcome of the trade is fully apparent. Others are fully behind it and put the trade on par with Kwame Brown-for-Caron Butler. Not that the two categories are mutually exclusive (there are those who would contend that trade was overrated). The team's heightened level of play (barring that John Wall guy's) has to address what is perhaps the key question mark we had regarding Ernie's ability to execute the rebuild: vision.

As I said before, the trade is addition by addition and subtraction both; how much are the results skewed by the massive increase in basketball IQ at the Center position? In other words, were JaVale's miscues so egregious that any legit big man would have the peanut gallery exclaiming over EG's genius?

In the end, only Ted's opinion matters. And seeing as how the team shed two problem children for last FA's premier target, it's tough to dispute EG's stock has risen in the board room. We probably won't know how much better the team is until next season. Of course that will be following a crucial offseason with what is probably our last high lottery pick and possibly a FA acquisition as well. For now, it's probably a safe bet Ernie Grunfeld is going to be the wheelman going forward.

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