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When I think of Jameer Nelson, I think of inconsistency. I think of a player that’s the very definition of that word.
Nelson has spent seven seasons in the NBA carving out a niche as a maddeningly inconsistent player that teases you with pure brilliance. Sometimes that brilliance lasts for one game. Or five games. Or 10 games. And when you see what Nelson is fully capable of, you get infatuated with his abilities.
At his best, Nelson is aggressive in looking for his own shot in pick-and-rolls while simultaneously fulfilling playmaking duties as a point guard. It’s a delicate balance that Nelson tries to find on a game-to-game basis and because equilibrium is remarkably hard to achieve (with Chris Paul serving as the model of consistency and excellence), it’s easy to see why he’s inconsistent.
But at the same time, because Nelson — at this stage in his career — already knows what it takes to reach his potential, it boggles the mind that he continues to suffer with bouts of inconsistency. It’s been seven years! You’d imagine that Nelson would have figured it out by now. But Nelson hasn’t, and perhaps he never will.
Which makes looking back at Nelson’s All-Star season in 2009 a depressing exercise because that’s when you thought he had his “aha!” moment. That’s when you thought Nelson had truly figured it out.
First, let’s set the stage.