After trading for Nene last March, the Washington Wizards quickly learned the value of having an experienced player who can make significant contirbutions on the court. The younger players benefited from Nene's basketball acumen, listened to his advice, elevated their games by competing against him in practice — and got to sip some late-season success.

The Nene effect was one of the primary reasons that the Wizards acquired Emeka Okafor from New Orleans in a pre-draft trade. They understood that Okafor gives them an underrated big man capable of forming a physical, rebounding, defensive-minded tandem with Nene and also filling in for him if he's forced to sit because of injury.

Okafor, who led Connecticut to national championship in college before becoming the face of the Charlotte Bobcats for six seasons, also can handle leadership responsibilities. Asked on media day where the Wizards can look for guidance with both John Wall and Nene out during training camp because of injuries, Okafor smiled, pointed at his chest and said, "That would be me, I guess."