Nene returns to where his career blossomed as the 7-29 Wizards visit his old team, the Nuggets, tonight.
Nene had a good run in Denver before he was traded to Washington last March. The 6'-11" center was drafted by Denver in 2002 and played on cellar-dwelling Nuggets' teams early in his career and then on Denver squads that were consistent playoff contenders -- and that helped Nene earn a big contract two years ago. Nagging injuries, and that hefty five-year, $67-million deal signed in December 2011, ultimately led Denver to deal him to veteran-starved Washington for the talented but immature JaVale McGee.
Since that deal, injuries have still hobbled the 30-year old Nene who has played in only 34 games for the Wizards in which he has averaged 13 points and 7 rebounds. Plantar fasciitis caused Nene to miss the first 8 games of this season, in which the Wizards were winless. When Nene is on the court, he gives the team a better chance of winning with his post presence and floor leadership. When he's not on it they struggle.
Meanwhile, McGee has logged 61 games at center since the trade, has started none, and has averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds this season for the 24-17 Nuggets. For three seasons in D.C., McGee showed flashes of freakish athleticism and continues to do so in Denver, but consistency remains an issue.
It's to be determined how much the two will match up tonight, but when they do it will be a reminder of the directional change the Wizards took with their rebuild by dumping McGee and acquiring Nene.