Nene, Seraphin take on London

Nene, Seraphin take on London
July 27, 2012, 11:44 pm
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For those interested in all things Washington Wizards, the London Olympics are all about the international big men, Nene and Kevin Seraphin.The veteran Brazilian and rising Frenchman each open play for the respective country's on Sunday with Seraphin taking on LeBron James, Tyson Chandlerand the rest of Team USA.As for Nene, he headlines a potent interior rotation with Cleveland's Anderson Varejao and San Antonio's Tiago Splitter (former Indiana guard and current free agent Leandro Barbosa leads the backcourt). The intrigue from a Wizards perspective will be watching Nene work with two other bigs who are far more effective playing closer to the basket than they are away from it.That figures to be the scenario Nene deals with next season. It will be his first with Emeka Okafor, a big man who is clearly more effective playing closer to the basket. Nene can certainly play out at the high post offensively - as can Seraphin. In fact theinternational beef brothers formed an effective pairing because both could operate inside and from 15 feet out. Now with Okafor - also Varejao and Splitter over the next two weeks - Nene figures to play more on the perimeter so others can roam the middle.From his perspective, Okafor sees the role of the 4 (power forward) and 5 (center) being largely interchangeable. Not sure I concur regarding his game, but now we'll get a glimpse as to whether that notion exsist for Nene over extended minutes (Interesting piece here from's Kyle Weidie looking at the past to gauge how the Wizards trio might fit next season). We'll also get to see Nene matched up in Group B play against Spain's trio of the Gasol brothers - Pau and Marc - and Serge Ibaka.Without an injured Joakim Noah, Serpahin figures to be France's top center though NBA vets Boris Diaw and former Wizard Ronny Turiaf will also man the middle. San Antonio's All-Star guard Tony Parker and Portland's small forward Nicolas Batum lead the perimeter attack.Seraphin's offensive game shined during the second half of the NBA season and he average 14 points and 7 rebounds over the final 21 games. Howeverthe 6-foot-10 center's defensive rebounding and actual defense laggedbehind his scoring moves. Both components will be tested early in London. After facing a gold medal seeking Team USA, France takes on Argentina, led up front by Luis Scola. I'm of the opinion Okafor, in part because he is now the highest paid player on the Wizards, will open next season in the starting lineup with Nene. Should Seraphin's two weeks in London become a star-turn, that opinion could change.As for when you can seeNene and Serpahin play during the Olympics...BrazilJuly 29 vs. Australia, 6:15 a.m. (NBC Sports Network; replay at 8 a.m., NBC basketball channel)
July 31 vs. Great Britain, 11:45 a.m. (NBC basketball channel)
August 2 vs. Russia, 11:30 a.m. (NBC basketball channel; replay at 1:30 p.m.)
August 4 vs. China, 11:45 a.m. (NBC basketball channel)
August 6 vs. Spain, 3:30 p.m. (MSNBC)FranceJuly 29 vs. Team USA, 9:30 a.m. (NBC Sports Network; replay at 1:30 p.m.)
July 31 vs. Argentina, 3 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
August 2 vs. Lithuania, 4 a.m. (NBC Sports Network; replay at 8 a.m.)
August 4 vs. Tunisia, 4 a.m. (NBC basketball channel)
August 6 vs. Nigeria, 9:30 a.m. (NBC basketball channel)