With Dwight Howard out of town, Jameer Nelson will finally have the green light to indulge his shoot first nature. Which means if his past is any indication of things to come, we could see Nelson explode back onto the scene as one of the leagues premiere scoring point guards.
After all, this is a man who erupted for an average of 19 points per game through the Orlando Magic’s playoff run in 2009 that took ultimately took them to the Finals. And while his stats clearly indicate a gradual drop off from that level over the last few seasons, his decline was more so a direct result of his role within the Dwight Howard fixated offense than a testament to his skill.
Fortunately, the Magic now have a former point guard in Jacque Vaughn for a head coach and will no longer have an offensive scheme solely dedicated to running through the low post. Seeing as he is currently the most dynamic scoring threat the Magic have, he should immediately emerge as a focal point for an offense that will lack an identity. And if he manages to find his rhythm early on, he could potentially draw a considerable amount of defensive attention, in turn opening up the floor for his teammates.
Nelson also signed a three-year extension with Orlando this summer, which understandably caused a few groans throughout the fan base. That said, this team is going to need a seasoned veteran during the rebuilding process, and his outstanding character in the locker room alone will make a make a meaningful impact on it’s youth going forward. Not to mention Nelson’s skill set will age very smoothly, as he’s never relied heavily on his athleticism and is a deceptively quick, as well crafty shot creator.
All in all, don’t necessarily expect 20 points per game immediately from the wily vet, as this is clearly going to be a tumultuous year for the blue and white. But don’t be surprised if by mid-season we see him make a roaring resurgence to his 2009 form.