CBS Houston – The Houston Rockets Wednesday officially added another piece to their team. Free agent center Nene Hilario who last season played with the Washington Wizards is now joining the mix on a reported one-year deal.
With Dwight Howard re-signing with his hometown Atlanta Hawks, the team was left with only one center on the roster, Clint Capela who is now going into his third NBA season. While he is trending upwards, each season adding more to his body and his overall game. The need for a veteran big was something the team just had to address.
“We were looking for the best possible player who could play the five along with Clint Capela,” Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey told sportsradio610.com when asked about what made Nene the right fit.
Nene is a very solid veteran backup who can still play at a high level despite this being his 15th season in the NBA. Last season his minutes went down but still was a very effective player for the Wizards.
Around the basket, Nene is a very capable scorer, when in the paint he is a very good finisher, last year on shots three feet and under he converted on nearly 70% of his shots (.698).
The Brazilian big man will also bring something new to the center position the Rockets haven’t had in a long while. Over the past couple of seasons, Nene has developed a little bit of a mid-range game, last year shooting just under 40% from 10-16 feet out (.396).
In the seven seconds or less offense, that new head coach Mike D’Antoni is hopefully going to be installing here in Houston. There is room and need for a big man that has a little bit of a mid-range game. Amar’e Stoudemire back in the run and gun Phoenix Suns days did have a mid-range game that came in very handy.
Another asset Nene brings to the team is the ability to find the open guy while he’s in the post. A big part of the team’s offense next year will be ball movement and finding the open man, Nene can do that.
It’s drastically different systems but last year with the Golden State Warriors Andrew Bogut finished with the same assist percentage as Nene with the Wizards both with 14.5%. Bogut gets a lot of credit for being a great big man passer, but Nene isn’t too shabby either. Looking at some of his games from last year, you could see him hitting guys in stride cutting to the rim or finding someone out on the three-point line when he doesn’t have a good shot.
Nene won’t be as vital to the Rockets as Stoudemire was to the Suns. But he can clearly add some extra wrinkles and dimensions that the Rockets just don’t have at the five.
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