Quick Links

Nene's pain threshold dictating minutes


Nene's pain threshold dictating minutes

One day after blowing through the red light on Nene's minutes count, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he expects the power forward to play Monday when winless Washington hosts San Antonio.

Wittman also revealed the decision to keep playing Nene beyond the pre-determined 20-minute limit came from Nene himself.

The Wizards coach said "everybody" practiced on Sunday following the 108-106 double-overtime loss to the Bobcats though Nene was not seen in his practice jersey when the final minutes of the session were made available to the media. Instead he wore a red t-shirt, same as the one sported by John Wall, who remains sidelined with a knee stress injury.

In his home debut, Nene played 29 minutes against Charlotte including all but five seconds of the two extra sessions, scoring 19 points on 8 of 13 shooting in a game the Wizards collectively shot 36.6 percent.

Asked about Nene's potential availability against the Spurs, Wittman curtly responded, "Yeah I plan on him playing. He didn't get hurt. I don't know where the line of questioning is. He played the game. He's playing."

The 30-year-old returned to action Wednesday in Atlanta after missing Washington's first nine games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Nene reaggrevated the injury in early August during the London Olympics, only recently returning to practice.

The Wizards trailed the Bobcats by double figures in the first and third quarter. In both cases Washington rallied to take the lead with Nene spearheading the rallies coming off the bench. His plus-minus tally, a robust plus-22. Regardless, the Wizards ultimately fell to 0-11.

Despite Wednesday's contest against the Hawks going into overtime and the team clearly benefitting from the Brazilian big man's presence, the veteran forward did not play during the final five minutes. Atlanta's Kyle Korver hit a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left, sinking Washington 101-100 as an apparent game-winning tip-in by Martell Webster came a tick after the final buzzer.

Two days later Wittman said of Nene's usage, "I've got to be careful. It's hard. The impact he has on our team and how he helps our other players especially from an offense standpoint, we've got to be smart too."

During his pregame press conference before Saturday's game, the coach reiterated that a minutes count remained in play.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. Asked why Nene played extended minutes one game but not the other, Wittman responded.

"This is on him. I can't judge his pain, what kind of pain, if he's having pain. I'm leaving that on him. Atlanta was a different situation that it was here in terms of his mind...This has got to be his kind of terms. Is he feeling tight, is he feeling soreness. Is he feeling it being fatigued and those are questions only he can answer.

"When he does it's being let known and then I've got to make a substitution. Last night was different. He said he felt fine and wanted to continue on. I give him credit. He fought down to the wire trying to get us a win."

Still working on his conditioning, Nene made 3 of 6 field goal attempts in the overtimes, but did not grab a rebound.

The Tim Duncan-led Spurs (11-3) will enter D.C. having played their own double-overtime game on Sunday, coming away with a 111-106 win at Toronto. The 36-year-old Duncan scored 26 points in 41 minutes while Tony Parker played 46 minutes and finished with 32 points.

In 26 career games against the Spurs including 19 starts, Nene is averaging 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds.

Quick Links

Capital City Go-Go now allow Wizards make final roster cut to 14 and leave the 15th spot open

Capital City Go-Go now allow Wizards make final roster cut to 14 and leave the 15th spot open

On Saturday, two days before the deadline to finalize Opening Day rosters, the Washington Wizards waived four players - LaVoy Allen, Chris Chiozza, Chasson Randle and Tiwian Kendley - and in doing so trimmed their roster down to 14 players. That's one fewer than the NBA roster maximum of 15 players, meaning they opted to leave one of their roster spots vacant.

This was not a big surprise, but it's worth going through the reasons why they chose to do so for those who may be wondering. 

For one, the Wizards have a lot of money committed to their roster and could use some savings. They are fourth in the NBA this season with a total cap of $134.9 million. That is $11.1 million more than the salary cap limit, which means they are due to pay $19.1 million in luxury tax next year, according to Spotrac.

The Wizards also don't absolutely need that 15th player. They have two two-way players in Devin Robinson and Jordan McRae who collectively give them depth at a wide variety of positions. 

Under two-way contracts, they can be activated for up to 45 days this season before the Wizards have to decide on a fully guaranteed NBA deal. The NBA adjusted the rules this season to exclude travel days from that 45-day clock. The NBA days limit for Robinson and McRae also does not begin until G-League training camps begin on Oct. 22.

Speaking of the G-League, the Wizards have their own team now. The Capital City Go-Go will begin their inaugural season in November and that will give the organization the deepest stable of prospects (and roster spots) is has ever had. They now have much more room than ever to stash young players that would otherwise be considered for the final spot.

Even if the Wizards didn't have that option, as they did not last year, it wouldn't necessarily convince them to fill the last roster spot. Last season, they went without a 15th player for much of the year and for extended stretches only carried 13, the league minimum. They even rolled with 12 after the NBA trade deadline, as the league allows two weeks for teams to reach the minimum.

That recent history alone was enough to suggest they wouldn't fill the 15th spot. And, truthfully, that 15th spot rarely came into play as an actual need. This isn't the NFL where injuries make every roster spot incredibly valuable, or MLB where extra innings can sometimes make it feel like their rosters aren't deep enough.

Perhaps the Wizards will fill the 15th spot at some point this season. They can do so in a variety of ways, including if they trade one player for two. Just don't count on it, for all the reasons listed above.


Quick Links

Richard Jefferson announces retirement from basketball after 17 NBA seasons

USA Today Sports

Richard Jefferson announces retirement from basketball after 17 NBA seasons

After a career that spanned 17 NBA seasons while playing for eight different teams, Richard Jefferson officially announced his retirement from basketball on Saturday via Instagram.

Jefferson spent the first seven years of his career with the Nets (then of New Jersey) before moving on to the Spurs, Bucks, Warriors, Jazz, Mavericks, Cavaliers and finally Nuggets. The Arizona alum was with Cleveland when the Cavs won the NBA title in 2015-16.

For his career, Jefferson averaged 12.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. He played particularly well against the Wizards, scoring an average of 14.1 points in 43 total games versus Washington.