It's hard to see Nene not playing with the second unit this season, despite coach Randy Wittman cautioning that he's not close to settling on his rotations when the regular season starts Oct. 28.
Nene, who is more trim and healthy for the first time to start a season with the Wizards, looked fluid and fast with his hands and feet in Tuesday's preseason opening win vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. He had 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting, six rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes of the 129-95 victory. The chemistry he had with the three-guard lineup of Garrett Temple, Ramon Sessions and Gary Neal was evident.
"Me and Sesh and Nene were talking about that just now. It's just fluid," Temple said. "You got guards out there, me myself, Gary, Sesh that move the ball, that know where we need to be. It's fun when you don't have to call any plays, you're just playing basketball. You have a big like Nene that can not only roll to the goal but can hit that mid-range, hit that elbow shot."
Nene is accustomed to fast-pace basketball. He spent most of his career with the Denver Nuggets playing in George Karl's offense. Now he's backing up Marcin Gortat at center instead of starting at power forward.
"I don't know where it leads right now," coach Randy Wittman said. "I can view a lot of different starting lineups with this team depending on who we're playing and how we want to attack. I'll have to keep working at that ... I wanted to see early on Nene at the five, Marcin at the five and go smaller around them to see what we can produce there."
A side benefit: Nene could play fewer minutes in this spot, preserving the 33-year-old until the postseason.
"I think he's embracing it," Bradley Beal said of the move for Nene. "Coming off the bench, I know it's hard being a starter almost all your life. He may earn the starting spot, you never know. It's up to Witt. ... He's probably the best scorer in the second group, too. It's a different look we're going with."
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