First and foremost, If Dwill wants Nene: enough said.
Nene's stats last year don't, upon first glance, seem overly impressive. 14/7. BUT the efficiency at which he scored those 14 points was extremely valuable.
The relevant question for us is to ask what output nene can give the nets when A. combined with D will and B. at 36 minutes a night instead of the 30 he was given in Denver. I'm going to take a guess (and if Im really off-base here, someone tell me) that he could reach 20/10.
20 points is nice, of course. But is it worth a max level player? At a 60% conversion rate (which is where Nene tends to be), I think it might be. Said another way, Nene's 18 points at a 60% conversion rate are FAR MORE valuable than 20 points at 47% conversion rate.
Those 20 points have value not only in the points themselves, but in the saved possessions. If we can get those 20 pts with nene shooting 10 for 16 every night, instead of a combination of others shooting 10 for 22 (roughly 45% conversion), then we would be building an 20 point baseline of points every night with 6 fewer possessions. THIS IS HUGE. If we convert on 3 of those 6 possessions, thats an extra 6 points EVERY NIGHT (not to mention the ability to get back on D more effectively for 6 possessions). We lost by around 6 points in roughly 15 games last year.
Have I made a ton of assumptions here? Yes. For one, I'm holding Nene's defense (which, admittedly I dont know much about) constant. And im not adding in free throws into my analysis. additionally, I have no clue as to how effective he would be as a PF instead of as C. But my intent here was simply to create a broad sketch of Nene's potential value BEYOND the 14/10 Denver stat line.
Is that value enough to deserve a max contract?? I think its a closer call than originally assumed