Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can him on twitter @NBAandNFLInfo or on the Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page, and for more NBA basketball news and rumors visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – a fantasy basketball blogJameer Nelson was drafted in 2004 with the 20th pick in the first round. He began his career with the Orlando Magic and has played for them his whole career. This season, however, Nelson will be making his first move.
Jameer Nelson has been one of the most consistent point guards for quite sometime. He should continue to be a great draft pick for a second point guard on your fantasy basketball team. However, Jameer Nelson will be playing for a new team this season.
After being waived on June 30, it was apparent that he wouldn’t be playing for Orlando this season. The question was who would he play for? On July 24, the Dallas Mavericks announced that they have signed Nelson with the cap-room extension. Nelson signed a two-year contract with a player option on the second year. Sources say that he will probably return to free agency next season. The deal will make him $2.73 million this season.
In order to properly evaluate Nelson’s upcoming season with the Mavs, let’s first take a look at how Nelson played in Orlando.
Nelson has played ten seasons in the NBA, all with the Orlando Magic. During the 2006-2007 season, he was handed the starting point guard responsibilities. Ever since then, he has consistently given the Magic great play at the position.
Nelson has always been a great leader on the court. He always understands the strategy and game plan and executes the offense based on that. He does a great job of finding players and getting players into the game.
His best season with the Orlando Magic was the 2008-2009 season. That season, he averaged 16.7 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, 5.4 assists per game and 1.2 steals per game. He shot 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from behind the three-point line and 89 percent from the free throw line. He was very accurate with his shots and tallied a career-high in points per game that season. His 16.7 points per game is still his career-high in that statistic to this day.
For the past two years, Nelson has shown better passing ability while still putting the ball in the basket. For the 2012-2013 season, he averaged 14.7 points per game, 7.4 assists per game, 3.7 rebounds per game and 1.3 steals per game. He shot 39 percent from the field, 34 percent from long range and 87 percent from the free throw line. Although his shooting has been a little less accurate lately, the 2012-2013 season brought career-highs in rebounds per game, assists per game and steals per game.
Last season was still a successful season for Nelson. He played in 68 games and started all of them. That’s the most he has played in one season since the 2010-2011 season. He has proven that he is healthier once again. In 32.0 minutes per game, he averaged 12.1 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game, 7.0 assists per game and 0.8 steals per game. He shot 39 percent from the field once again, 35 percent from beyond the arc and 86 percent from the free-throw line. He is still showing a great ability to assist and still scores at an average rate.
Now, let’s talk about the Dallas Mavericks and how Nelson will fit with them.
Keep in mind, the Dallas Mavericks also have Devin Harris and Raymond Felton at point guard. Sources have said that the plan is to rotate the three players at point guard while also putting them in as backups to shooting guard Monta Ellis. Doing this will give the Mavericks constant fresh legs and experienced hands at point guard. It will also allow the Mavs to play a more up-tempo speed for the whole game.
With a more up-tempo game speed, more fast breaks will occur, are what every point guard dreams of. They lead to easy baskets and easy assists. Especially with the signing of Chandler Parsons, the Mavs should see a lot of success in the open court.
With Felton and Harris, three-point shooting isn’t really a strong point of their games. Nelson gives that option to the Mavs. He has always been a deadly three-point shooter and should shine with that in the Mavs’ offense. With all of the opponents’ attention on the trio of Dirk Nowitzki, Ellis and Parsons, Nelson should see a plethora of quality looks, which is something he didn’t get a whole lot of recently in Orlando.
Nelson’s three point shooting has taken a dip recently, shooting under 35 percent from long range in each of the past two seasons. However, he should see that number trend significantly upward with the Mavericks. Jameer Nelson is a career 37.4 percent three-point shooter. He is capable of shooting much better than that, and he has. He has shot better than 40 percent from behind the arc in four separate seasons. The last one came during the 2010-2011 season when Dwight Howard was featured on the Magic’s roster. His best season from long range was during the 2008-2009 season when he shot 45 percent from long range.
In my opinion, Nelson’s move to the Mavericks is a smart decision. It will benefit both the Dallas Mavericks and the veteran guard Nelson. I can see Nelson shining in the Mavs’ offense. In Orlando, they didn’t have any big stars and often Nelson was the attention getter. That led to a lot of poor shots and not a lot of chances to score. In Dallas, that will change and Nelson’s statistics will look a lot better.
With that being said, Nelson’s role is tough to read at the moment. Whether or not he starts, he’ll still be sharing the minutes with Harris and Nelson. Yet, you can expect his percentages to increase, but will it offset the potential decline of per game numbers?
Nelson will probably score around 8 points per game, dish around 5 assists, grab a couple rebounds, and get one steal per game. His percentages will be a lot better than they have been. I wouldn’t choose him as my starting fantasy point guard, but he will be good enough to be your backup or an emergency option.