The Orlando Magic are a team full of youth and promise with their best years still ahead of them. However, one player who has seen the best of the Orlando Magic is point guard Jameer Nelson. Nelson is a consummate professional who understands what it means to be a member of the Orlando Magic. The 6’0″ point guard is set to become only the 2nd player to play 10 seasons for the Orlando Magic and the Magic will count on the veteran point guard to provide leadership to the young Magic squad.
2012-13 Season Recap
Despite losing franchise cornerstone Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers, Jameer Nelson had one of his best years for the Magic . Nelson has always been known as a scoring point guard, but last year saw Nelson have his best year as a passer. For the first time is his career, Nelson finished in the top-10 in assists averaging 7.4 assists per game. The improved assist numbers did nothing to diminish his scoring ability as Nelson averaged 14.7 points per game, with only his 16.8 points per game in 2008-09 surpassing last season’s performance.
However, Nelson once again struggled with injuries during the season and only played in 56 games for the Magic. Nelson is not a very good defensive player and struggled throughout the year, with opposing point guards often getting into the paint unimpeded.
For the first time in Jameer Nelson’s career, he will have to look over his shoulder. The Orlando Magic drafted guard Victor Oladipo with the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. One of the goals in the upcoming season is to help Oladipo become a point guard and eventually take over the starting point guard duties from Nelson. Nelson will still be a leader this season for the Orlando Magic and will be counted on to help develop Oladipo into a future point guard. However, in addition to teammates Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo, Nelson has also been a subject of trade rumors.
“I’m just here right now,” Nelson said. “That’s my goal: to be here as long as I can. Like I said in past years, I love it here and I definitely would like to stay. I understand things happen and it’s a business. Right now, I’m here and my job is to help lead and to help get these guys where we need them to be as a team and as an organization.”
The rumors stem from the belief that the Magic are going to have to shed some of the veteran talent if they are going to get a top-5 pick and potentially select the talented Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 pick. Out of all the veterans on the roster, Nelson is the least likely to be traded this season, if Oladipo is to become a good point guard, then it would benefit the Magic to have a veteran point guard like Nelson to show Oladipo the everyday rigors of being an NBA point guard.
Jameer Nelson will play less minutes this year, but Nelson will be the starting point guard for the entirety of the 2013-14 season for the Orlando Magic. Expect Oladipo to take some of Nelson’s minutes, but rest assured No. 14 will be a popular fixture in the Magic lineup.