Player Capsules: Jameer Nelson
By John Denton
April 23, 2013
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic’s run of six straight seasons in the playoffs is over, ending the Eastern Conference’s longest such streak. But not all is lost for a Magic franchise with a bright future.
The Magic have a history of success that says that the franchise will soon be back in the NBA’s postseason. In the past 20 years, the Magic have made the playoffs 14 times – the fifth most times of any NBA franchise. And since the 1992-93 season, Orlando has had a .500-or-better record 16 times – also the fourth-best mark in the NBA over that time frame.
There are plenty of positives to come out of the 2012-13 season as the Magic have established a core of promising young players and they have a base of veterans expected to return next season.
Orlando also has secured the best odds at getting the top overall pick in the June 27 NBA Draft. The draft order will be determined in the May 21 NBA lottery, a process in which the Magic have a 25 percent chance of winning. The Magic have won the NBA’s top overall pick three times, and the last time they were in this situation they won the top pick and used it to select Dwight Howard in 2004.
Looking back on the 2012-13 season, we here at orlandomagic.com are going to spend the next two weeks breaking down each of the players currently on the roster. We’ll look at their stats, highs and lows from the season, a favorite moment and analyze their role for the future.
So without further ado, here is today’s Magic player capsule:
NAME: Jameer Nelson
JERSEY NUMBER: 14
HEIGHT, WEIGHT: 6-0, 190
POSITION: Point Guard
NBA SEASONS: 9
2012-13 SEASON STATS: 14.7 ppg., 3.7 rpg., 7.4 apg., 39.2 percent FG, 34.1 percent 3-pt FG, 87.3 percent FT.
2012-13 SEASON HIGHS: 32 points (Jan. 2 vs. Bulls); 7 rebounds (Jan. 24 vs. Raptors); 15 assists (Feb. 10 vs. Blazers); 4 steals (three times – latest March 17 vs. Bucks); 2 blocks (Feb. 8 vs. Cavaliers); 48 minutes (Jan. 7 vs. Blazers).
FAVORITE MOMENT: Facing former teammate and longtime friend Dwight Howard for the first time on Dec. 2, Nelson took great delight in leading Orlando to its most thrilling victory of the season against the Los Angeles Lakers. Nelson helped the Magic register a franchise-best 13 assists in what proved to be a game-winning, 40-point fourth quarter. Nelson had 19 points, none bigger than the 3-pointer he hit in the final minute to seal the victory. He also added 13 assists and Orlando was a plus-19 in Nelson’s 39 minutes on the floor.
OF NOTE: Statistically, Nelson had an excellent season what with him averaging his highest point total (14.7 ppg.) in four seasons and the most assists (7.4) of his career. The 7.4 assists per game were good for seventh in the NBA, while his assist-to-turnover ratio (2.68) was 20th best in the league. With so many young players on the roster, Nelson was asked to carry more of the offensive load this season, and his shooting percentages (39.2 percent from the floor and 34.1 percent from 3-point range) suffered because of it. Still, Nelson led the team in scoring 12 times and he had 14 20-point games. He tied his career high of 32 points on Jan. 2 versus Chicago.
FUTURE ROLE WITH THE MAGIC: Nelson is the unquestioned leader of the Magic what with the way he remains professional in the locker room and encourages the young players. Now 31 years old, Nelson figures to hang onto his starting job at least one more season. But the Magic could be looking to move Nelson into a backup role if they decide to select a point guard in the upcoming NBA Draft. Orlando certainly could use some reliable depth behind Nelson what with the 6-foot guard missing 26 games with groin, hip, knee and ankle injuries. He didn’t play the final nine games of the season as the Magic allowed him to rest a mild ankle sprain. Nelson, who could have signed elsewhere last summer but returned to Orlando, takes great pride in playing all nine of his NBA seasons with the Magic. It is his goal, he has said, to close out his career in Orlando. He wants to be a part of the turnaround in Orlando – even if it’s in a reduced role in the future. He is the Magic’s best leader and will likely be given the opportunity to continue to lead Orlando for the foreseeable future.
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