The Rock: Nene provides durability, consistency in the paint
As the 2010-11 season approaches, Nuggets.com is taking a closer look at each Nuggets player and their prospects for the upcoming season. Assistant coach Chad Iske was kind enough to provide a candid scouting report, which reflects the views of the Nuggets coaching staff as a whole.
Today’s featured player is Nene, who was invaluable to the Nuggets last season while playing in all 82 games for the first time in his career. Nene fortified his status as one of the league’s most dependable centers, shooting .587 from the field while averaging 13.8 points and 7.6 rebounds.
A playmaker in the pivot, Nene also averaged career-high 2.5 assists, which was second among all NBA centers, and no center recorded more steals than the sure-handed Brazilian during the 2009-10 season.
Nene’s durability and consistency will be prized from the very start of 2010-11, as fellow big men Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin recovery from knee operations. If the Nuggets can start the season strong, there's a possibility that Nene contributions could merit All-Star consideration.
Here are a few more things to note about Nene (formerly Maybyner Rodney Hilario) as he enters his ninth NBA season:
PERFORMANCE TO REMEMBER IN 2009-10
In a testament to his efficiency, Nene needed just 32 minutes to record 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals and four blocked shots in a victory over the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 17. He became the first player in Nuggets NBA history to reach those levels in five categories in a single game.
COACHING STAFF’S ASSESSMENT OF LAST SEASON
“We were happy about Nene playing a full season, staying healthy and fighting through the grind of the season while having to deal with the rigors of post play night in and night out. Him playing the whole year was huge. He’s kind of the unsung hero, the backbone of the team in that regard. He was there every night.”
OUTLOOK FOR 2010-11
“We always want Nene to be a little more assertive. We need to get him more touches than he’s gotten in the past and have him be a more integral part of the offense because he’s so good creating out of the post for other people. He does so many things well that go unnoticed that you want him to keep doing those things.
“A lot of times with Nene, the focus is brought to the things that he doesn’t do, but he doesn’t lose his battle very often. He wins his individual battle more times than not.”
IN HIS OWN WORDS: WHAT WENT RIGHT LAST SEASON
“It was normal, consistent. That is what I look for.”
IMPROVEMENTS FOR 2010-11
“I can go higher on the field-goal percentage, so I want to raise that.”
“I want to shoot 60 percent from the field.”
STAT THAT BEARS RE-TWEETING
17 Number of games in which Nene shot at least 70 percent from the field last season, including nine games of 80 percent or better and one 6-for-6 game against Memphis on Nov. 1.
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