Daryl Morey made a very underappreciated signing last summer.
The signing was 34-year-old big man Nene Hilario. He was a key contributor to the Rockets last season as he came off the bench (and occasionally started) for the team. He did more than play solid offense and defense, he provided veteran leadership to a fairly young team. For this reason, as well as others, the Rockets should do everything they can to re-sign him this offseason.
Nene is a much different, and better, player right now than he has been in a few years. The credit for this goes to the training staff of the Rockets. He provided great production off the bench and was well-rested and ready for the playoffs. He even dominated game 4 against the Thunder, dropping 28 points and 10 rebounds. Whenever he took a rest day, it only gave Montrezl Harrell more opportunity to play and improve. A Nene at this level of play would be a great help off the bench and he could continue to start against bigger centers.
He Wants to be Back
Nene has publicly stated that he wants to be back with the Rockets organization. It makes sense that he does, as he improved his health while here last year and played the best he has in years. The Rockets want players that desire to be in Houston, so resigning Nene would be perfect on that front.
Nene, the Rockets' lone FA: "I’ve been through a lot of situations. Here, I got young. I got healthy. And I got happy. I want to be back.”
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) May 12, 2017
Continued Veteran Leadership
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Nene provided leadership to a team in need of it after a rough 2015-2016 season. James Harden even called him his “mentor” during the year. Even after he went down with an injury during the San Antonio series, he continued to help the team by just being a solid presence with the players. Resigning him will not only help just because of his play but also with his leadership.
Daryl Morey should do his best to bring back Nene to the squad. The only reasoning against it is the stunted growth of Montrezl Harrell and Chinanu Onuaku. By Nene taking the minutes, it gives fewer opportunities for those two to get more experience at the NBA level. But at the end of the day, it would be worth it to re-sign Nene and have him personally help the young centers in the Rockets organization.