When NBA’ers offer cliche’ filled soundbyte packages during postgame pressers or whatever we have the tendency to respond with a collective eye roll. It’s boring, and sounds like that teacher Charlie Brown had after a while. So many times we can almost recite a response before a particular player even starts talking. We left it out on the floor today. We needed to execute better. Shots just weren’t falling today. It’s commentary like that which leaves us thinking, yeah I know. I watched the game. We were kinda wondering why your shots weren’t falling, though. But thanks anyways.
So when a guy like Jameer Nelson, a quality NBA point guard, opens up with an introspective look at why he thinks his shots haven’t been falling this year, for example, there’s no way I’m ripping him for it. No way I’m formatting his comments into a blog or headline that reads something like: Nelson feels his relationship with Howard is affected because Dwight is flirting with other point guards, or millionaire athlete admits to playing bad because teammate infers he doesn’t like him that much him anymore, or anything like that. Honesty is the best policy as far as I’m concerned, and I respect that as well as the answer that Nelson did give the Orlando Sentinel over the weekend for starting slow this season. A reason I think makes total sense actually if you think about it:
Magic PG Jameer Nelson admitted that C Dwight Howard’s mention of playing with other point guards affected him.
A slumping Nelson said Howard’s talking about playing with Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets and Chris Paul of the L.A. Lakers, made him press some this season.
“Maybe a little bit of that,” he said after playing one of his better games of the season Friday night, scoring 17 points and adding nine assists in the Magic’s 92-80 win against the Lakers.
Magic GM Otis Smith said earlier in the day that he thought part of Nelson’s poor play was because Howard “indirectly threw him under the bus.”
“I’m here to play basketball and I can’t worry about what anybody says. I’m here because I’m a winner and they want me here. I know if they didn’t want me, I wouldn’t be here,” Nelson said.
“I’m human and a lot of things affect you. We’re basketball players, but we’re also human. A lot of the stuff that came out about other point guards being here was basically months ago, so if I was hurt, I’m over it.”
From the Cleveland chapter of this playbook that Dwight is currently executing, I watched this same thing affect Mo Williams in a similar way as it pertained to LeBron talking about playing with other guys too. It’s natural I think. Williams most definitely pressed as well, and it’s no surprise that Jameer came out this season doing the same thing. Understandable too in my opinion, and it’s even a bit refreshing to hear him at least admit as much.
The career 12.4 points per game scorer on a total of 46% from the field is now going to really need to get over it though. His numbers are definitely down this year so far, as he’s shooting only 40% overall, 31% from three, and averaging a pedestrian 8.4 points per game. He is better than that, and while maybe not an All Star these days, Jameer is certainly an above average point guard in the NBA still.
He wouldn’t be the reason a top-five player leaves a team he’s on, basically, so hopefully he can go back to just doing his thing. He doesn’t need to prove anything to anybody, and Dwight is leaving regardless. He’s just using you as one of his many excuses as to why, Jameer. It’s all good, don’t take it personal anymore.