There aren’t many occupations where the employees get to head to paradise right after losing, but that’s exactly what the Washington Wizards did following their loss to the Brooklyn Nets in overtime. For the Wizards, a trip to Brazil will mean a lot more than to some since they’re allowed to bring members of their family on the expedition. John Wall has chosen to bring his mom, who he credits for his outstanding development throughout his turbulent childhood, while Martell Webster is taking advantage of the trip by bringing his wife on a bit of a vacation. Nevertheless, the trip will be more emotional for Nene than anyone, who expects to show his teammates around the place he originally called home. Regardless of the time and place, Nene still doesn’t want to play extended minutes in front of the Rio de Janeiro crowd;
“No, no no no,” Nene said quickly to CSN Washington, though with a smile, about playing more Saturday when the Wizards face the Chicago Bulls in Rio de Janeiro. “I don’t worry about minutes even in Brazil because I’m a pro. I don’t want to get sore, get hurt. I still have a couple of issues. Just because I feel better, they think I feel great but they’re wrong. We need to reduce (it) a couple minutes.
Even though picking up a win would be great, the Wizards coaching staff needs to do a better job of managing minutes. Unlike Nets head coach Jason Kidd, Wizards coach Randy Wittman opted to play his starters well over 20 minutes, which isn’t necessarily a common occurrence in preseason. Wins are cool, but at the end of the day, longevity and the players’ health are a lot more important than exhibition victories.
The Wizards have brought back 11 of the 15 players on the roster from this past season, but Brazil will give the team a better chance to bond and gain camaraderie. For a team desperately trying to accomplish their playoff goals, their chemistry and familiarity has to improve, especially since they don’t have the talent some of the other eastern conference teams possess.
Washington will meet the Chicago Bulls at Rio this Saturday at 5:00 PM EST. The game is scheduled to be on NBATV, so hopefully there won’t be any broadcasting issues this time around.