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2012 Wizards' Player Evaluations: Nene Hilario


It is the end of the season which marks the point where the Bullets Forever community get to weigh in on how well they think each Wizards player did over the course of the the abbreviated 2011-12 season. Each player is rated on the 1-10 scale. Next up: Nene Hilario

The acquisition of Nene brought with it many things, but perhaps the most enjoyable (besides the pick and roll and the veteran leadership) was watching Steve Buckhantz struggle with pronouncing Nene's name for the first few broadcasts. Nay-Nay? Nay-Nuh? Nuh-Nay? By the end of Nene's debut, Buckhantz was reduced to garbling a stream on consonants together and his excitedly tried to describe the impact of the veteran center on a young Wizards team.

To say that Nene made an impression would be an understatement as he immediately brought a sense of legitimacy and organization to a Wizards locker room that had lacked any degree of cohesiveness. John Wall and Trevor Booker went out of the way to describe how they could "trust" Nene, which is either a damning indictment of previous front court players or a demonstration in how desperately the Wizards needed star quality veteran leadership. Nene immediately had an impact on the offensive end of the floor and his defense, while not as spectacular as his predecessor JaVale McGee, was fundamentally more sound and consistent.

Of course, the flip side of the coin is Nene has a history of injuries and this cropped up during his brief tenure with the Wizards when he went down briefly as a foot injury. I choose not to look at this as a warning sign, but as the Wizards protecting their new $65 million dollar investment. Of course, if one is a longtime Wizards fan, one can't escape the nagging thought that we have made the traditional error of trading young for old and big for small. As it is, I am go to try and enjoy the first two years of the Nene era and look forward to watching some fundamentally sound and boring basketball.

BOLD PREDICTION: Nene earns the nod as starting center in the East after Dwight moves to the Western Conference.