Jameer Nelson Emerging As More Effective Leader For Orlando Magic

By John Raffel
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jameer Nelson realizes that, like it or not, he has to be a leader for the Orlando Magic.

Basically he doesn’t mind because of his veteran status in the NBA. But he still enjoys being a player and doing everything he can to help his team. He’s done an impressive job in that area at times.

“It is easier to do when you’re playing that way guys can see what you are doing and obviously they know I can lead. I’ve been in the league long enough to know how to do it,” he said.

It’s not a well-kept secret that the Magic has struggled with horrendous defense all season. It’s something Nelson would like to help correct in the remaining weeks of the season.

One main aspect of a true leader on the court for an NBA team is getting other players involved in the game. Nelson has done a clutch job in that respect. The Magic earned a 105-102 win Monday at the New Orleans Hornets and his leadership skills came through in flying colors. He’s averaging 14.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game in his eighth year as a pro player.

He had 15 points and seven assists against the Hornets for a typical Nelson-like performance. In fact, he’s had 20 assists his past three games. That’s the sign of true leadership and he could take a few bows for that.

But leaders need to lead by example and Nelson needs to spend a few times at practice perfecting his shot. He was 6-of-15 from the floor against New Orleans and a combined 6-of-20 against his previous two opponents. Shooting poorly and playing poor defense has cost the Magic too many games. Nelson needs to show them how it needs to be done.

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