The hard truth about Jameer Nelson | Magic Basketball

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Jan 27

The hard truth about Jameer Nelson

AP Photo/Mike Carlson

After spending Thursday watching Jameer Nelson play, I regret to inform you that I have nothing groundbreaking to report. I don’t have answers, I don’t have a solution, and my prognosis is going to sound obnoxiously simple.

There are not two ways to cut this pie. Jameer shoots out of rhythm, misses layups, turns the ball over, passes with less mustard, and falls over a bunch (what is that all about?) His defense is lazy and uninspired, and his offense is passive and slow.

In a word, Jameer looks absolutely terrible right now, and there isn’t a ton of evidence that he is going to get any better.

Don’t start blowing your fan gaskets just yet. Let me explain. We love to revisit 2009 and use it as the basis of every argument about why the Magic are good, and how they are capable (with a lot of these same guys) of winning a championship.

More frequently than any other player on the current roster, guys love talking about how good Jameer was in 2009. He was aggressive, he scored a ton, he hit his long-twos, and we loved Jameerkat! What if 2009 was an anomaly for Nelson? Anyone ever think of that?

That was really his only standout season after all. In surrounding years he’s marginal at best (or injured).

What if this is the best we’re going to get from Jameer, the guy who once captured our hearts? What if the Dwight saga and the Otis Smith shenanigans were too much for Jameer? What if it weighs on him now and he’s just had enough? What if he’s sad about Dwight leaving? Maybe he doesn’t like the roster anymore. I really don’t know, but Jameer stinks, and the proof is in the pudding.

The point here is not to slam on Jameer. It’s to spur you on to consider the possibility that perhaps your standards (and mine) are too high for Jameer Nelson.

There was a point in the game against Boston where Jameer got to the hole on a nice drive. Less than 30 seconds later he got a great look from the top of the key and buried a triple. You could almost see it in his eye that he was ready to get back in the saddle and start beasting again.

So what did he do? Forced the issue on the ensuing two possessions, missed a layup, and took a terrible pull-up three that bricked miserably.

Look, we all have our bad days, but the problem for Jameer right now is that even when he starts to catch a little bit of fire, he smothers the flame all by himself. This isn’t the sign of a guy going through a rough patch. This is a sign of a guy who is well past his heyday — a guy who is better suited handing the reigns over to a young gun and transforming into a role player off the bench.

Alright, maybe that’s a little harsh. Jameer can still play, but maybe just not at the level you and I think he can. Let’s get used to it together, take the good games and rejoice, take the bad games in expectation, and live in a little place called the chill zone.

Nate Drexler is a contributing writer for Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.

8 comments
Wundervogel
Wundervogel

When he is in facilitating mode, being aggressive and looking to score, our offense works great. When he is lazy and not interested, like right now, we are terrible. Trading block.

CarloSimone
CarloSimone

I have been expecting him to improve and he mostly keeps disappointing me. It's such a shame because I do think he has skills. His size and durability have hindered him over the years but he always has those moments when he overcomes it all and transcends on the court. I just don't think we can expect too many of those moments in the future.

Wundervogel
Wundervogel

The problem I have with him is that he isn't even trying. He is just floating along.

Voecklen
Voecklen

Right now Jameer is no better than a decent back up PG. I'd love to know how many times he's fallen down the last three games. Seemingly two or three times a game.

Do you have any suggestions for a back up PG that the Magic could realistically get. Many have mentioned someone like Andre MIller but I can't see how that happens. Some guy under the radar. I know this would seem a bit crazy but someone like Goran Dragic. Super athlete, fearless and plays all out. Watched him play recently against Westbrook two games when Lowry was out and he held his own. He pushes the ball as well as anyone and I think the Magic would really benefit from someone pushing the ball. Makes some crazy decisions but he's no worse than Nelson. I would think someone like this would be possible. I know it's a stretch but Nelson is just awful right now. And as you say, I don't see him getting better.

nerditry
nerditry

I don't know who made the decision to bring Jameer back during the 2009 playoffs after being seriously injured, but he has been terrible overall since then. That team figured out a great chemistry and bringing him back derailed everything.

I won't say that the 2008/09 Magic could have beaten the Lakers in the Finals, but with him at the point, the team was disjointed and lost all of the rhythm they found under Rafer and Dad.

erivera7
erivera7 moderator

@Wundervogel Yeah, he's been bad. Clearly the Dwight stuff has affected. I liken him to a boxing prizefighter ... he's shot.

erivera7
erivera7 moderator

@Voecklen I don't think it really matters. The Magic's roster is a mess. It's time to blow it up.

erivera7
erivera7 moderator

@nerditry That's not entirely accurate. Jameer hasn't been terrible "since then." He returned to All-Star form in the 2010 NBA Playoffs. He's been a little better than average the past two seasons.

He's just been terrible NOW.