Posts Tagged ‘Jameer Nelson

08
Oct
09

Magic and Pistons:Who starts and comes off the bench?

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Trying to find playing time for every player on the bench is a sometimes daunting task for even some of the NBA’s best coaches. When teams are in a losing streak, sometimes coaches try and shake things up by alternating which players start and come off of the bench. Even on some rare occasions, management may decide to bring a star player back from injuries a little slow and limit their minutes by also bringing them from the bench. When the latter occurs, their is usually a backlash from the star player which sometimes creates irreparable harm to team chemistry and the player/coach relationship. For an example look no further than last season’s A.I./ Detroit Pistons fiasco.

Coach Stan Van Gundy, of the Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic has no such problem. He actually has a few players who prefer to ride the pine and be injected for instant offense or as a late game defensive specialist. I read recently that forward Mickael Pietrus, who was spectacular in the Magic’s postseason run, has told his head coach that he wants to come off the bench in games. Pietrus and newly acquired Matt Barnes were in a battle through training camp to decide who would be the starting small forward. It appears that Pietrus, who averaged 9.4 points in 24+ minutes mostly as a reserve last season, has stepped aside and made Van Gundy’s decision for him. Matt Barnes, who is entering his first season in Orlando, had been mostly a journeyman NBA player having been on 7 teams in his 6 seasons, before having perhaps his best season averaging double figures in scoring with Golden State last season. Known primarily for his defense, Barnes apparently found his offensive stroke by averaging 10.2 points while starting 40 games for the Warriors and seemed to flourish under coach Don Nelson’s system. Both Barnes and Pietrus are known to play excellent defense with Pietrus regularly getting the unenviable assignment of guarding the other team’s best player, like during the postseason when he did his best to contain Lebron and Kobe.

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Of course for the team’s first 10 games, all bets are off since Rashard Lewis who usually plays the PF spot, will not be available because of his steroid suspension and consequently will cause some roster shuffling. One would assume that Brandon Bass would take over the starting PF spot alongside Barnes or Pietrus at the 3 spot. Van Gundy may decide to go with a smaller lineup during those first ten games depending on the opponent and have Vince Carter play at SF with Jameer Nelson at SG, allowing Jason Williams some time at the point. Van Gundy definitely has some options with such deep team.

Rip hamilton

It is just refreshing to actually here a player comply with a coach’s wishes or volunteer to come off of the bench to achieve the team’s goal of winning a championship and not behave badly like Iverson’s multiple tirades(twicehe did it in Philly too when Chris Ford was coach) of taking offense at not starting. Detroit may be in for the same situation all over again with Rip Hamilton and new free agent Ben Gordon. Hamilton made it known that he also wasn’t kosher with a bench role along with A.I. last season. Gordon, I’m sure, came to Motown to start rather than be a reserve. If not, he is being handsomely paid for sitting on the bench. I speculate that Detroit isn’t big enough for the both of them and Hamilton will be traded before the season is up.

New Look Pistons Basketball

 

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06
Sep
09

Who Are Candidates for NBA Comeback Player of the Year?

Which former superstar will overcome injuries and make a comeback? This upcoming season’s list of possible Comeback Player of the Year Award nominees could read like an All-Star roster. Even though the NBA doesn’t officially give out the award, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at which players have the opportunity to be considered the best comeback players. The criteria would be that each player must have been at an All-Star caliber level at some point in their career and who’s numbers have dropped recently because of injuries, played on a bad team, or just had an off season.

 

T-Mac

Tracy McGrady – The player known as T-Mac has not made a major contribution to his Houston Rockets team for the past 2 seasons. Playing in only 97 games since ’07, McGrady has averaged 21.6 and 15.6 points the past two years. While this may be considered good for some players, it is not what we are used to from the 2 time scoring champion(’03 and ’04) and 7 time All-Star. As great players usually do, he upped his scoring average to 28.5 points even though he has never won a 1st round series. Back and knee injuries have ravaged the one time top 5 player, but recent reports have him rehabbing well and on the road to full recovery. At age 30, T-Mac could still be a great player if healthy. Putting up monster numbers for a rebuilding Rockets team seems tough since he doesn’t have much help. At $23+ million this season, Houston hopes he comes back hard!

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas The Hibachi has been seen all over the internet recently testing out his surgically repaired knee. Footage was accidentally purposely leaked of Gil playing at Barry Farms in Washington DC this Summer as well as playing in the Chicago Pro Am while training for his comeback. The man with many nicknames like Agent 0, and most recently, Black President, was once one of the league’s hardest players to guard during the ’05-’07 seasons where he averaged between 25 and 30 ppg. The 3 time All-Star has three 50+ scoring games, even scoring 60 during the ’06 season. Since ’07 ,the Wizards franchise player has appeared in only 15 regular season games averaging 17.6 points because of two surgically repaired knees. As the video footage showed, Gil looks good and claims to be at 90% of his former self. There are once again high hopes in Washington with a good supporting cast and only at age 27, Arenas could still have many good years ahead of him.

Elton Brand

Elton Brand – It bothers Elton Brand that he never has truly been able to show the Philly faithful what he has to offer. He had high hopes coming to Philadelphia and joining a contending team which  has made the postseason the past two seasons with a young and talented nucleus of players after playing his heart out for perrenial NBA doormat LA Clippers for the previous 6 seasons. He averaged only 15.9 points and 9.8 rebounds before dislocating his shoulder in December. When he returned he would come back slowly from the bench and finished averaging only 13 points and 8 rebounds, which is a far cry from the 2 time All-Star’s career numbers of 20 points and 10 rebounds. He is still one of 6 current players to average 20 and 10. While in very good company, he will have had 6 months of time off which should be plenty of time to be 100% going into ’09-’10. A new coach, offensive system, and point guard should do Brand some good. I look for a strong return next season from EB24.

Garnett

Kevin Garnett – Everyone in the Celtic organization missed The Big Ticket for the final 25 regular season games and the playoffs. The 12 time All-Star averaged only 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds before sustaining a right knee sprain which occured during a game with the Utah Jazz in February. Garnett could only play cheerleader during his team’s loss to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Semi-Finals. One has to wonder that even though he is not ancient, at age 33, how the toll of playing more than 1100 NBA games straight from high school has taken a toll on the one time MVP’s knee joints. Garnett who has career averages of 20.2 points and 11.1 rebounds, dipped to 18.8 and 8.8 during the Celtics ’08 Championship season. While he may be voted an All-Star when he returns, I doubt he will ever return to superstar status.

Amare Stoudemire

Amare Stoudemire – Stoudemire is seemingly on this list every year, but it is only because he has so much potential. He missed the final 29 games of the regular season because he sustained a detatched retina to the same eye which he injured in preseason in February. Before the injury he averaged 21.4 points and 8.1 rebounds in his 7th season. Stoudemire seemed to be finally fully recovering from microfracture surgery in ’05, which was his best season averaging 26 ppg. With Coach Alvin Gentry bringing back the uptempo offense we are used to, and Steve Nash resigned for two more years, Stoudemire will have might have the best chance on this list to put up big numbers. At age 26, Amare definately has the most upside of anyone on this list.

Jameer Nelson 1

Jameer Nelson – Jameer Nelson has two meaningful tatoos across his back, All Eyes on Me and Accomplish Everything Without Fear. Both sum up his offseason coming back from a dislocated shoulder. Even though the Magic made news by letting Hedo Turkoglu go to Toronto and bringing Vince Carter to Orlando, All eyes are on Nelson, who is probably the most important player on the team. He is the floor general that brings it all together for a team that has aspirations of returning to the Finals. If healthy,he could be the piece of the puzzle that pushes them over the top. Before the injury, Nelson averaged 16.7 points, 5.4 assists, and selected for his first All-Star Game. Nelson, who was a former Naismith Player of the Year at St. Joe’s University, is supposedly back to All-Star form. If so, watch out Eastern Conference, because we have not seen the best of Jameer Nelson.

24
Aug
09

Jameer Nelson Shows the Magic Some Brotherly Love

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If anyone had any doubts about Jameer Nelson’s injured shoulder, he proved them wrong last week by making an appearance at a Phillies home game vs the Diamondbacks,and throwing out the first pitch. Many of his Magic teammates were along to witness their point guard’s appearance and even took in some pregame batting practice and watched the game from a luxury box at the stadium.

That wasn’t the only reason that the former St. Joe’s product and National Player of the Year in ’04, was back in his hometown. He annually runs his own training camp with his Magic teammates like Vince Carter, Matt Barnes, Rashard Lewis and Philly natives and current players like Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Mo Speights, Kyle Lowery(Philly native and former Villanova pg), and Dionte Christmas(Temple). Since making it out of the crime infested Philadelphia suburb of Chester, Nelson has been a model teammate while in the NBA.

Nelson also spoke to his former Chester High coach, Fred Pickett, whom with he won 2 PA State Championships, about getting a Chester AAU basketball program under way. The Chester area has produced many Division 1 and NBA caliber talents like Tyreke Evans with the Sacramento Kings, Nasir Robinson at Pitt, Darren Govens at St. Joe’s, and Nelson with the Magic.

Most teams encourage players to work on their game during the offseason but very few actually follow through. They savor the time off and rest their aching knees and other ailments from the rigors and pounding of an NBA season. Nelson is one of the few who organize a training camp of their own to improve and get acclimated with new teammates.

The Magic need a healthy Nelson, who averaged 16.7 points and 5.4 assists and named to the All-Star Team before the injury, to compete in an ever improving Eastern Conference and get back to the Finals.

Jameer Nelson 1




About the Author:

Allen Moll is an avid NBA and College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen also writes for thehoopdoctors.com, Bleacherreport.com, and UpperDeckblog.com.

Favorite teams include everything Philly, like Sixers, Eagles, Phillies, Villanova , St. Joe's , Hoops, LaSalle, and Lehigh University Hoops.

Contact info: mollallen@yahoo.com

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