Unfortunately for Nene, the lasting memory of him in a Wizards uniform will be of Game 5 vs. the Atlanta Hawks when his man, Al Horford, stormed in for the winning putback at the buzzer. Nevermind that Nene sacrificed to help Paul Pierce by boxing out Paul Millsap to prevent him getting the rebound and no one else on the floor made an effort to thwart Horford's rush to the basket. The narrative will remain "Nene's fault." He had a difficult postseason and is on an expiring contract that'll pay $13 million in the final year.
The stats: 11.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 51.1% shooting.
The improvements: Various injuries and ailments limited Nene's ability to produce at an optimum level, though he appeared in the most games (67) in five years. Towards the end of the season, when Nene was relegated to more a supporting role to Marcin Gortat he was a better rebounder and did more of the dirty work required. His free-throw shooting improved to get above 60% and his passing from the low post remained solid. He's also good at sealing multiple defenders to clear the path for his teammates to get rebounds.
The ranking: Each year, Nene's standing declines. Part of it has to do with health and being over 30 but also it's the ever-changing role of power forwards in the NBA. Nene can't stretch to the three-point line and his mid-range jumper hasn't been as fluid. He used to shoot above 60% from the field. He still has the moves and the ball-handling ability to pull his man away from the basket and beat him, but the finishing isn't always there.
The next step: Just focus on defense and rebounding. If Nene is going to play closer to the basket, he won't be required to step out as far and have to worried about getting beaten off the dribble by undersized stretch power forwards. And being deeper in the post has to translate into better rebounding rather than Nene just sealing defenders to help teammates get in position to get the loose ball. Plus, Nene will have to get his points on putbacks as less of the offense will run through him. His productivity on post-ups isn't as good as it used to be.
2014-15 grade: C.
2015-16 outlook: Based on coach Randy Wittman's comments during exit interviews, Nene is in line for a reduced role -- likely as a reserve -- and playing more of a backup role to Gortat.