Unlike in past seasons where the Washington Wizards would completely collapse in the absence of Nene, who’s obviously been a key part of their rebuilding process, this year’s team has managed to stay afloat without Nene’s presence on the court and they’ve done so with the help of a number of veteran additions.
Andre Miller, Martell Webster, and even Al Harrington were expected to have an increased role with Nene out, but I’m not sure anyone expected anything from Drew Gooden, who the team signed to a 10-day contract almost immediately after Nene’s injury was announced. Given how much time Gooden has missed since being amnestied by the Milwaukee Bucks, I honestly didn’t expect him to have much left in the tank, thus not sticking around much longer than his initial 10-day contract. Well, it’s safe to say that I, like most Wizards fans, were wrong in this case.
After struggling in his first few games with the Wizards, Gooden quickly picked it up and has since been producing at a high level while coming off the bench. We all knew that Gooden was capable of scoring the ball because he averaged double-digit points for a large portion of his career before getting relegated to the end of the bench in his last season with Milwaukee, but I definitely didn’t expect him to put up 13.3 points per game in his last three games with Washington. Not only has Gooden been scoring well off the bench, but he’s been doing it at a highly efficient rate while shooting over 70 percent from the field.
(Gooden scored 15-points last night against the Miami Heat in just 17 minutes of playing time)
For what looked like a favor of a signing for agent Dan Fegan, who also represents John Wall, Martell Webster, and Al Harrington, the Wizards seem to have found a legitimate bench piece in Drew Gooden. He talked about wanting to make the most of his opportunity in Washington and he’s definitely done that so far.
Nene isn’t expected to be back anytime soon and Kevin Seraphin is still considered “day-to-day”, so with that said, I’d be shocked if Gooden isn’t signed for the rest of the season.