“Get healthy. That’s my priority right now. It’s been affected since I got traded. That thing got started when I was with the Nuggets,” said Nene, who averaged 14.2 points on 59.1 percent shooting over his previous four seasons in Denver. “It was an honor to represent my country and play for my country in the Olympics. I made sacrifice, you know. It was my decision on that one, but now I’m going to have a summer to recover to have my body straight, my strength straight.”
The Wizards (29-51) are decidedly better with him on the floor. Among Wizards players to appear in at least 35 games this season, only Nene and Wall have positive plus-minus numbers for the season. Washington was 15-7 this season with Wall, Nene and rookie Bradley Beal in the lineup.
“The way we start and the way we finished, we did an amazing job, because if you ask for opinion, they never going to say, ‘The Wizards are going to get more than 20 wins.’ We did really well. So for next season, for sure, we’re going to be better,” Nene said, adding that he wants the team to aim higher than a low seed in the Eastern Conference players. “If we want to be in a good position, just to be in the playoffs is not my goal. For me, that is no goal.”
Nene said he hopes the Wizards’ young big men — Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton — will take advantage of the opportunity to play in the final two games. “It’s a hard job. I still here 11 years, being able to play because I work hard. I want to kill — in a nice way — take a player in my position down. That’s how this league is, to have that kind of pride. Because when someone try to take something from you, you need to fight. That’s what they need to do.”
As for concerns about being considered a malingerer for shutting himself down early, Nene countered: “I don’t care what people think, because they are not here with me every day. They don’t know how much I suffer, how much I cry, how much physical therapy I did to be able to play. I don’t care. I know what I been through. I will come back strong. They will see.”