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.