Thursday, January 11, 2007

What is more Embarrassing?

(Boulder-CO) Today, the answer is going to come from you in the comments section. Ben Maller is reporting on his site, http://www.benmaller.com/, that Nene is embarrassed. He is not embarrassed because the Nuggets lost last night to the Spurs, or that they have not been able to compensate for Carmelo’s 30+ points per outing, or even that there has been a routine amount of major collapses in consistency with himself and his teammates throughout the entire season. None of these fathomable reasons are why, “Big Brazil”, as I like to call him, are why Nene is feeling the way he feels. Rather, Nene is embarrassed with himself.

Maller quotes statements that Nene made in the Denver Post that have Nene saying, “When are the Nuggets going to get Nene back? ‘I can't say,’ said Nene, impatiently waiting for a reasonable facsimile of the big man that Denver so desperately needs to return. Nene tore a knee ligament against these same Spurs on Nov. 1, 2005. More than 14 months later, there is neither a spring in his step nor anything resembling a smile on his face. ‘It is embarrassing for me, because I can not do much,’ said Nene, being brutally frank and harsh on himself. ‘It’s in my mind. I don’t feel well. I feel weak. I feel embarrassed.’”

But the question that really needs to be answered is who should feel more embarrassed at this juncture of the situation, Nuggets management or Nene himself? Every single last report from the off-season was rooted around positivism surrounding Nene. He was getting married, in the best shape of his career, working profusely on his game, and signing a 6-year, 60-million dollar contract. Do the new faces in Nuggets management have egg on their face for signing a badly injured player that had yet to prove his concrete value? Does the onus of blame reside on the mainstream media for not reporting the truth, but rather printing what they thought the Nuggets Nation would like to hear? Or does the weight of not being able to perform like 60 million dollars would indicate solely rest on the broad shoulders of “Big Brazil?”

There is no definitive answer to the question, but it is nice to see a professional athlete admit that he is not performing at a level that is satisfying the fans that ultimately create his paycheck. If I were the one conducting the interview with Nene and these types of sentiments were expressed it would have proven to me on the spot that Nene truly does care about his performances and is not just satisfied with being a wealthy basketball player that is going to cash his checks regardless of his output on the court. I would have also told the big fella to turn that embarrassment into motivation and that he can still be the player he was, and better, if he truly sets his mind to it!

So what do you think, Nuggets Nation? Is Nene being too hard on himself or is this a blunder by Denver’s front office? I want to hear what you think in the comments section. If you don’t have a name yet, what are waiting for? Sign up and join the fun already!

5 comments:

Stumbleweed said...

I think it's both -- it's become pretty obvious that we overpaid for him, even if he manages to produce better numbers this year. The injury risk (especially with our crop of other fragile bigs) was simply too great to take this gamble (in my view), especially locking in such a long deal... If it were a 2 or 3-year deal, then it might not be so bad if he doesn't pan out, as we're not mortgaging the future of the team with risky long-term deals(especially with aging guys like Marcus/AI on the roster). But it's going to be impossible to trade him or otherwise cope with his contract if he can't get healthy and show some in-game spark, and we'll end up with another K-Mart situation on our hands.

That payroll could have been used for a pass-first PG who can hit threes or another decent post player who can push guys around (what Nene is supposed to be), but instead, it's spending most of its time on the bench or fumbling away the ball under the basket. He's looked good in spurts and has shown off some pretty post moves (and some quickness), but it seems like whenever I see him out there he's either losing the ball off his foot or rimming out a layup.

Bottom line is that I think we took a huge gamble and we won't know if it truly pays off until probably next season (as that would be sufficient recovery time)... If he develops into a double-double guy and can play more than 60 games per season, we probably did okay. But even that production isn't really woth the size of that contract. But bigs in the NBA are notoriously overpaid (see Olowakandi and James), andif you compare Nene to those guys, he's doing pretty well for himself.

I think the management definitely has egg on their face because of this deal -- it's been mocked as the worst move of the off-season by a lot of the media (the same guys who were giving those positive reports before the season). It's encouraging to see that Nene isn't going to pull a Jerome James on us and clearly not care about playing or getting back into shape. But good intentions don't win games (or heal knees), so hopefully he can heal up and then start to really work on his game with a more healthy body. I do think he can be a quality presence for us and a big low post guy that we need (since Marcus is a finesse guy), but it's going to take a lot of work by him to raise his game (even just compensating for his loss in speed/explosiveness)and some measure of good fortune to actually get him healthy.

Nugg Doctor said...

Awesome stuff, Stumble.

I agree with a lot of the post reaction stuff you have to say.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Jason said...

Nugg Dr., my opinion is that we need to give it time before we can truly predict whether or not this was a bad signing. Nene definitely has the potential, but he needs to get over this injury. If that does not happen, it obviously becomes a bad signing. But Nene is partly to blame, as he has to work through this as best he can and try to lose weight so there is no so much pressure on the knee. Probably easier said than done.

But I truly think in the end, this will turn out to be a great signing, but only time will tell.

By the way, bye bye Boykins...

Nugg Doctor said...

Jason,

Your perspective is greatly appreciated. My only serious gripe with Nene is that the weight should not be a problem that needs to be getting this much attention.

It has been over three months since the beggining of the season and he is a professional athlete. Get the diet straight, put in the extra effort and drop the pounds is where I stand on the issue. I know for one that if I had literally no financial worries that I would be able to drop excess weight as if it were my job. Come to think of it... It IS his job and it is not getting done!

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

aeneas said...

so if nene is some guy who is hard to motivate and very frustrated giving him a good contract and hyping him to the media concerning his health and progress in order to protect him from being boo'ed as the worst off-season deal of the year actually does make sense.
Sending out good news about a player does not have to be to build up pressure but can also be used motivate and support or even protect him so dont blame the nuggets so hard for nenes problems. I think it's a matter of time (and luck) for him to grow into the huge expectations this contract caused.
I believe that Nenes problems do not have to be discussed on such a large basis. I do more think that he just has some of those times where everything goes wrong and if its right its still not right enough to be happy about it. It's just not such a big deal in my oppinion.