Buyers Remorse For Wizards With Nene

Two seasons ago, the Washington Wizards made a move for trade for a big man to help the team out both then and in the future. Nene Hilario (now just known as Nene), is making $13M per year for the next three seasons, and the Wizards probably wish that they had saved that money so they could have spent it elsewhere.

It’s not that Nene hasn’t turned out to be a productive piece of the puzzle for the Wizards, as he is their third leading scorer this season at 12.9 points per game. It’s that he is clearly diminishing in value, especially in the Eastern Conference. For a team that is built to start winning either next year or in two seasons from now, this contract really is wearing the team down and killing any chance that it had of going out and signing a big free agent this summer.

As it is for this season, Nene has averaged 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. This will be the first year that he hasn’t averaged at least 7.4 rebounds per game since 2007-08, and the first year that he hasn’t averaged at least 13.4 points per game since that same injury-shortened season. T

he Brazilian is also only shooting 48.0 percent from the field, a far cry from the 61.5 percent that he was shooting when he was traded from the Denver Nuggets back in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Our NBA predictions suggest that the Wizards are about set to be able to crack the playoffs in the Eastern Conference with a healthy G John Wall and G Bradley Beal, perhaps as early as the 2013-14 season. However, with Nene really weighing them down, it is going to be tough see how the Wiz can truly contend for an Eastern Conference crown until his contract expires in three seasons.

Florida Key Sweet 16 Pick

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles are the sweethearts of the NCAA Tournament, as they have made it to the Sweet 16, marking the first time that a No. 15 seed has ever reached this point in the dance. However, the team for the Atlantic Sun champs is going to be coming to a close this week against the No. 3 Florida Gators, one of the favorites to win March Madness.

FGCU is a great story, but no one was really paying attention to it at the outset of the dance. Now, there are two games of film for head coach Billy Donovan to be watching, and you can bet that his Gators are ready to pounce. Florida is favored by 13-points in this one, and though the men in orange and blue are the biggest favorites on the NCAA basketball betting odds in the Sweet 16, we absolutely think that it is justified.

To start off the second week of the tourney though, we have our eyes on the Syracuse Orange. What we have seen all season long with the ‘Cuse is when they’re hot, they’re hot. When they’re not, they are absolutely not. Head coach Jim Boeheim’s bunch has stormed through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament by using that patented 2-3 zone look the whole way. Now, the Indiana Hoosiers are on tap, and the game could be a great one.

Remember that Syracuse was able to go on the road this year and knock off the Louisville Cardinals, and if it is able to do that, the idea of knocking off Indiana isn’t all that far out of the question as we see it. The Orange are 5 ½-point underdogs, so we don’t need them to win the game, just keep it close to cover.

Wall Back And Arguably Better Than Ever

The Washington Wizards really aren’t going anywhere in the Eastern Conference this year, as they are just 24-43 and are already guaranteed of yet another losing season. However, John Wall is back, is playing well, and is giving this team a tremendous amount of hope for the future of the franchise.

Wall didn’t make his first appearance in a game since January 12th against the Atlanta Hawks this season, and he really started off the campaign in a bit of a slump. However, on February 2nd, Wall went off for 21 points, nine assists, and five boards against the San Antonio Spurs. That game was lost on the road, but it was the beginning of a great run here for the Wiz. Washington has gone a very respectable 13-9 SU and 12-10 ATS in the 22 games since that point.

The man from Kentucky really has started to shine as well in that stretch. He has only had two games in which he didn’t score at least 10 points (and both of those games ended with Washington getting covered), and he has averaged 16.8 points and 8.1 assists, and 3.8 boards per game. These are the numbers of a man that could legitimately become an MVP candidate over the course of the next 12 months or so.

The Wizards have been particularly good for NBA picks in their last five games. They are 4-1 SU and ATS in those outings, though we have to put the caveat on there that the only team that is even going to remotely sniff the second season in that string of games was the first, a win over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Verizon Center. In that stretch, Wall has averaged 22.5 points, 8.3 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game, and he has also forced 2.0 steals per game as well.