Denton's Notebook: Sunday, Nov. 18


By John Denton
November 18, 2012

TORONTO – When Jameer Nelson called his Orlando Magic teammates together late in the third quarter of Friday’s win in Detroit, it gave a glimpse into his skills as a leader and his potential future when his playing career is done.

With the Magic trailing 75-65 and playing listlessly, Nelson blistered his teammates with a fiery motivational speech. The immediate result was six straight points from the Magic and the long-term conclusion was a 110-106 victory that allowed Orlando to break a five-game losing streak.

Nelson tried to downplay the significance of his prep talk, saying he was simply upholding his duties as a co-captain for the Magic. But for a nine-year veteran who has designs on coaching someday, Nelson’s ability to motivate and lead could bode well for him in the future.

``I just did it and it came out. Everybody is making a big deal about it, but it’s just something that I felt I needed to do,’’ Nelson said. ``We have some older guys and (leadership) isn’t all on me, but I’ve done it before. It just so happened we were on a losing streak. Everyone was kind of looking for someone to do something and I did it. And it happened to work. It was just a guy talking to his team and not me giving some magic potion. Really, I just told them to play harder.’’

Nelson, 30, said he’s already started to think about what he will do in his post-playing career. Coaching will likely be an option, but Nelson isn’t sure at what level he wants to work. He’s already flexing some of his leadership muscles on this Magic team, working specifically with Orlando rookies Maurice Harkless, Andrew Nicholson, DeQuan Jones and Kyle O’Quinn.

``I will coach one day, but I’m not sure about what level,’’ Nelson said. ``I’m interested in helping some of the young guys now. They allow me on this team to express some of my knowledge to them and help out our coaching staff too. We all look to one another for help and at times we all need. Our coaching staff does a great job of preparing and teaching us, but if I see something I give my input.’’

LAST-MINUTE DECISIONS: When Magic guard J.J. Redick drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with 42 seconds to play on Friday, he said he knew all along he would get a good look at the basket because the play had worked well previously in practice.

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn drew up the play – Redick inbounded the ball to Nikola Vucevic, rubbed off a screen set by Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis and took a Vucevic pass in the corner for the wide-open shot that put the Magic into the lead for good.

Vaughn said when he’s trying to decide on a play call in late-game scenarios, several factors come into play. First and foremost, Vaughn wants to see how the play works in practice and make sure that his players are comfortable with the execution. The player taking the shot and the matchup also factor in, but Vaughn said he made up his mind before Friday that he wanted the ball in Redick’s hands if the game was on the line.

``You consider matchups, but sometimes at the end the greatest play is deception and decoys, so I don’t think I have one set pattern,’’ said Vaughn, whose Magic didn’t have Redick on Sunday because of an illness. ``But going into that game I knew who I wanted to take the shot, we executed and got the guy the shot. I really do (feel like Redick is going to make every shot). I hope he senses that confidence that I have in him and I want him to shoot the ball.’’

PROUD CANADIAN: Sunday’s game served as a homecoming for Nicholson, who grew up and went to high school in Toronto. Vaughn’s advice to the rookie power forward was to limit the distractions when playing back home, so Nicholson only arranged tickets for his family and a couple of friends. Groups from St. Bonaventure and his high school attended the game, but got tickets on their own.

Nicholson scored a NBA career-high 11 points earlier in the week against the New York Knicks and he came into Sunday’s game averaging 5.9 points and 2.3 rebounds a game. Vaughn said that the rookie has been a delight to coach because of his mild-mannered demeanor and his willingness to learn.

``He has earned his minutes and he deserves to play. From Day 1, he’s taken that approach and he’s gaining the trust of the coaching staff,’’ Vaughn said. ``His approach has been great. He’s a student of the game and he wants to learn. He’s a fine young man and his parents should be proud of him. And Canada should be proud of him as well.’’

ETC: Magic stunt team performer Jamie Woode underwent surgery on Friday to repair three broken vertebra suffered after a fall during a timeout performance on Tuesday. Woode, a former UCF cheerleader, was up and moving around on Saturday and is expected to make a full recovery. … Several members of the Toronto media asked Vaughn whether he would get Nicholson into the game earlier or make sure that he gets more minutes because he was playing in his hometown of Toronto. Said Vaughn: ``No. I can answer that question quickly.’’ … In baseball, former catchers seem to make the best managers. Nelson thinks that former point guards make the best coaches in the NBA because of their total awareness of the happenings with a team. Said Nelson: ``I think point guards do make good coaches, whether it’s as head coaches or assistants. It’s because we see the game differently and sometimes two steps before a play happens. As a point guard, I have to know everyone’s role and what’s coming next. I think that helps guys as coaches.’’ … The Magic wrap up their three-game roadtrip on Monday night in Atlanta against the Hawks. Orlando hosts the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday at the Amway Center. Wednesday’s game is the first of a five-game homestand against the Cavaliers, Celtics, Spurs and Nets.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.



 

 




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