NBA Roundtable

Nuggets Keep Nene

In Free Agency on December 14, 2011 at 12:22 am

NBA.com’s David Aldridge reports

The Denver Nuggets were not always the favorites, but at the end of the day, they got their big man back.

Beating back strong competition from Houston and New Jersey, the Nuggets reached terms Tuesday with free agent center Nene on a five-year, $67 million deal.

The Nets had an offer on the table believed to be in excess of $14 million per season for the 29-year-old Nene, who averaged 17.1 points and 9.0 rebounds last season for Denver.

“We’ve been grinding all along,” Ujiri said. “Nene was our guy and we stayed the course and got through it. Nene wanted to stay home. He wanted to test free agency, but at the end of the day he wanted to stay home and play for the Nuggets. Nene will be a good player for us for a long time.”

Analysis

Bad Signing

I don’t like this move for Denver. They are a middle of the pack team with very little chance of fielding a contender over the next few years.

Investing this much money in a 29 year old big man without the opportunities to put enough talent around him to win … looks to me to be an ill-conceived plan.

Nene

As for Nene, he is not worth an average of $13.4 million per annum. More like $10-11 million. So he’s overpaid but it not by a huge amount. About $10 million over five years overpaid.

Nene is a very talented offensive player. Highly skilled. Low post scorer. Excellent finisher around the rim. Great hands, intelligent movement. Strong pick and roll players. Sets solid screens. Nice short + midrange jump shooter.

Unfortunately, on the downside, Nene is not aggressive enough to take full advantage of those tools and looks set to be a 14-16ppg scorer instead of the 18-20ppg he should be.

Nene is very talented on the defensive end of the court too. Unfortunately though, he is plagued by a lack of focus and commitment to fulfill his defensive talent and instead settles for 6-7/10 type of performances defensively instead of the 8-9/10 he is capable of producing on a regular basis when he is fully dialed in.

This lack of commitment makes Nene ill-suited to leading a team’s defense. Coasting is not leading by example. When asked to lead, his teams will regularly under-perform defensively. Better off as a second best interior defender.

In terms of rebounding, Nene is a weak boarder. Lack of effort. Unlikely to change.

New Jersey

Very disappointed that Nene didn’t end up in New Jersey.

I thought the Nets were well on their way to building a core capable of competing for a Championship someday in the near future with Deron Williams, Nene and Brook Lopez.

There were reports of the Nets offering Nene $65-70 million over four years which would have been a ridiculous contract. Very bad. But still, it would have formed an exciting combination of players and given the Nets a chance of fielding a formidable team. So I am disappointed that that didn’t come together.

Especially with Nene staying in Denver, a team that will be hard pressed to even  make the playoffs this year nevermind compete for a Championship.

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