Nene off the bench, should it be continued or should he be inserted back into the starting lineup?

Posted on January 11, 2014 by Ernest Williams

Should the Wizards continue using Nene off the bench? (PHOTO CREDIT: Hoop District)

Coach Wittman, I am here to help you figure out whether to start Nene.

There isn't an easy answer to that question (then again what is easy when talking about the Wizards?) 

There are two trains of thought on the subject. The seemingly more popular view is that it is better for Nene to come off the bench due to his history of injuries. Coming off the bench lowers his minutes and in turn decreases the wear and tear on his body. 

The other view is that Nene is getting paid starter's money. With starter's money comes starter's responsibilities. Yes, I am a big Spiderman fan, why do you ask? 

Let's compare some numbers with Nene starting versus coming off the bench (excluding last night's debacle where they even let Hibbert hit a three) and see where that leads us:

Not surprisingly Nene's stats are better across the board when he starts. What is a bit surprising is that Wall's numbers are marginally affected regardless of if Nene starts.

On the other hand, Booker and Vesely are more positively affected when Nene starts. Obviously, Booker's numbers are better when Nene comes off the bench since he is inserted into the starting lineup, which is giving him more minutes and has him playing alongside the team's best players. When starting, Booker has proven he can contribute with his trademark energy and rebounding. 

Also, Vesely -- who was and still may be on his way out the door -- has been able to produce more effectively when sharing the court with Nene. With Nene guiding him, Vesely actually looks like he belongs in a regular eight-man rotation. 

Ok Randy, this analysis didn't swing the needle either way. Maybe the numbers we should be concerned with are wins. 

This season with Nene starting, the Wizards win 64% of the time. When Nene comes off the bench they win 60% of the time. Four percent over the course of an 82-game season translates to 3 games. 

The numbers (by a slim margin) support the argument that Nene should start. But I’m still not sold. When you take into consideration the development of other players and the increased production of the second unit when Nene comes off the bench, it's a close call.

The fact is, the Wizards are 1-6 this season when Nene doesn't play. And since he joined the team, they have an equally dismal record when he's out. Arguably, Nene is just as important to the franchise as Wall. So you can either call him a starter or call him a bench player, just make sure you call him!

next up:

Garrett Temple and Martell Webster predict this weekends Seahawks and Saints playoff game.

January 11, 2014

Louisiana native Garrett Temple and Washington born Martell Webster predict this weekends Seahawks and Saints playoff game.


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