While John Wall is the guy we all will be watching — and the guy who will get too much credit or criticism for whatever happens with the Wizards this season — Nene might be the second most important player on that team.
After years of enigmatic and underwhelming big men in our nation’s capital, with Nene the Wizards have a guy who can defend the rim, is solid defending the pick-and-roll and can score from the block.
Well, he can do it all when healthy. But he battled plantar fasciitis last season, an ailment that requires rest to heal, so playing for Brazil in the Olympics this summer was not ideal. The condition lingers. Which brings us to this tweet from Michael Lee of the Washington Post.
Ernie Grunfeld wasn’t optimistic #wizards will have Nene for 2adays when training camp begins but expects him to be ready for season opener
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) September 25, 2012
Grunfeld also said the plan is to bring him along slowly, to be cautious.
If the Wizards want to turn their dreams of a playoff spot into reality, they are going to need 70+ healthy games from Nene in the middle. They are going to need other things as well — a steady Wall jump shot, floor spacing shooting from Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza, for a start — but Nene is a big part of the puzzle.
So for him to be ready by the start of the season is a good thing, Wizards fans.