For three and a half years, Javale McGee has been the epitome of the Washington Wizards' roster: an entertaining player that would be much better suited playing streetball.
Playing alongside John Wall (fun to watch but has little to no idea of how to operate a team), Nick Young (a top-ten chucker in the league), and Jordan Crawford (Jamal Crawford 2.0), Javale McGee found himself only as another valve of entertainment for the Wizards. This would explain why it came as a surprise to most fans across the nation when McGee was traded to the Nuggets for Nene, one of the most skilled big men in the league.
While McGee finds himself as a human highlight reel, Nene's style of play is a polar opposite. Rarely will you find Nene on SportsCenter's top plays, but you will most definitely find him on almost every coach's wish list. With an array of post moves and vision unparalleled to any other big man in the league, Nene is an enhancement for any team that's lucky enough to have him.
As for Nick Young, I think I speak on behalf of all Wizards fans when I say: Thanks for nothing man. If you're averaging 17 points and your team is still 21 games back from the playoffs, I simply don't want you. Not only that, but when you take 17 shots a night and only manage to get 17 points, you should leave. Just to put that in perspective: Dwyane Wade takes 17 shots a night.
While the era of Nick Young comes to an end (yes!!), Nene steps into the spotlight. So.. good trade right? Not exactly.
Wizards fans might be smiling for the first time in a while with Nene on their roster now
This is the most obvious factor of this trade and the sole reason the Wizards' front office wanted to make the acquisition in the first place.
When your center changes from Javale McGee to Nene, improvement is an understatement. A big one.
When talking about Javale McGee, it's important to analyze what type of player he is. We're talking about a player that tried his butt off to get a triple double, completely disregarding the fact that his team was down by over 20. I really don't know how to describe this, but I'm pretty sure he isn't a team player, to say the least.
Nene, on the other hand, is a proven winner and coachable player that brings intangibles to a team full of players that probably never even heard that word. Nene is your classic team player- a player that has high value, regardless of what PER or Fantasy Basketball owners might say. Nene, by no means, has bad averages (13, 7, 3), but the best part of his game comes from outside the box score.
Not to mention, Nene brings impressive defense to the Wizards, who are currently ranked 29th in the league.
Nene's been the head honcho for Denver ever since 'Melo left for New York
Unless your name is Tony Battie or you have no passion for the game (that means you, Tracy McGrady), a 10-year veteran usually serves as a mentor/leader to the younger players on whatever team they're on. We even see it happening in New Jersey, where DeShawn Stevenson (30) has settled into the mentor-role for young MarShon Brooks (23).
Nene will be no different in Washington, where the average age of the team is only 25. A player like Nene brings discipline and helps players to focus, whereas a player like Javale McGee encourage things like this.
With veteran Nene, the Wizards should get back on track.. and by back on track, I mean better than 10-32.
Crawford's flashy style of play should enthrall fans for years to come
I said it the very first time I saw Jordan Crawford play live, and I'll say it again: Jordan Crawford has the potential to be a top-ten shooting guard in the league.
For pretty much his entire career, Jordan Crawford's been overshadowed by Nick Young, and with Young now headed to LA, Crawford has an opportunity to really make an impact for Washington at the two spot.
While he could use some help on defense, Crawford keeps the defense honest and takes some load off of Wall's shoulders on the offensive end.
Previously acknowledged as the "guy who dunked on LeBron," Crawford now has his chance to make a name for himself, and trust me, he will.
Keep in mind: Jordan Crawford averaged over 15 points a game last year after the All-Star break and had two triple-doubles on the year.
Future? What future?
When thinking of up-and-coming teams, I highly doubt the Wizards cross your mind, and if they do, I question your integrity.
However, once you get past the fact that they're flat-out terrible (for now, at least), you realize the Wizards are essentially a Thunder 2.0 team. If you match up each position on both teams, it looks like: Westbrook/Wall, Harden/Crawford, Durant/Singleton, Blatche/Ibaka, and Nene/Perkins. The only matchup among these that's truly a disadvantage is at the small forward position, but other than that, the Wizards seem to have a solid blueprint for the future.
The only outlier here is that in five years every player listed will be in their prime.. except for Nene. It may be difficult to believe at this point, but the Wizards could potentially serve as a threat in five years, as all their players are young with promising futures. When every player is rounding their prime, Nene will be 35, an age where most adults find themselves having difficulty walking (okay, not really, but around that age). On the other hand, if the Wizards had kept McGee, he would be 29.
Now, while there is no denying that McGee has the IQ of a potato, there is also no denying that he his one of the most athletic players in the NBA. Nonetheless, five years is plenty of time. Five years ago, Derrick Favors was 15 years old and wasn't sure if he would keep playing basketball. Five years later, Favors is the 3rd overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. In five years, Javale McGee could improve his basketball IQ and use his athleticism to emerge as one of the more dominant forces in the NBA. If the Wizards held on to McGee, there's no telling how deadly the team would be as a whole.
Nene only played a total of 81 games from 2005-2008 as a result of injuries
Even in a shortened season, Nene has missed a total of 15 games on the season due to calf and heel issues. In those 15 games, Nene is playing less than 30 minutes in each contest.
At 30 years old, injuries like those of Nene's usually come back to haunt you and can slow down one's career. Although that is unlikely in the case of Nene, the Wizards still have to stay wary about Nene's health, seeing that he's already missed two seasons of his career due to injury.