Jameer Nelson faced an uphill battle when he came out as a four-year starter from St. Joseph. NBA scouts knew he could play, but he was a very generously listed 6’0″
Colleagues of mine who attest to being just 5’8″ or 5’9″ stand eye-to-eye with the floor general, and yet we see an NBA career that has been pretty good.
Nelson made an All-Star team in 2009, but he was injured an unable to play. And in fact, he never returned to that elite level of play following that shoulder injury. Nelson was on pace for a 50/40/90 season, potentially, and that is legendary territory. It was a half season; it is a quintessential version of small sample size theatre.
And yet, we can’t just disregard it. We like to think of guys at their peaks.
Nelson’s was kind of short-lived, but for as much criticism as he received for being a bit too shoot-first, he did accent the talents of Dwight Howard very well. For as many alley oops and assists as Nelson received, he found other ways to get the ball to Howard, often by the means of putting up flippers for him to clean up off the glass. That, as well as sharing the playmaking duties with Hedo Turkoglu, impacted Nelson’s numbers.