2013-14 Season Review: Jameer Nelson
By John Denton
May 2, 2014
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic made great strides during the 2013-14 season, notching several wins against some of the best teams in the NBA and witnessing major improvements by many of their players.
Orlando had a seven-win improvement at the Amway Center this past season while beating Oklahoma City, Indiana, Brooklyn (twice), the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland. Undoubtedly, the high point in the season came in mid-February when Orlando beat OKC at the buzzer and outlasted Indiana in the fourth quarter within a three-day span. At the time, the Thunder and the Pacers were the leaders in the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively.
Moments like those showed that the future is bright for a Magic squad loaded with promising young players such as Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless and steadied by the veteran leadership of Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson.
Orlando is also expected to add to his talent base in the June 26 NBA Draft. Orlando has secured the third-best odds at getting the top overall pick. The draft order will be determined in the May 20 NBA lottery, a process in which the Magic have a 16.6 percent chance of winning. The team with the third-best odds has won the NBA Draft Lottery each of the past two seasons (New Orleans with Anthony Davis and Cleveland with Anthony Bennett) and teams have won the lottery from the third spot eight times in the past 17 years.
The Magic have won the NBA’s top overall pick three times in their 25-year history, ending up with franchise fixtures Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway and Dwight Howard.
Looking back on the 2013-14 season, we here at OrlandoMagic.com are going to spend the next three weeks breaking down each of the players currently on the Magic roster. We’ll look at their stats, highs and lows from the season, a favorite moment and analyze their role for the future.
So without further ado, here is today’s Magic player capsule:
NAME: Jameer Nelson
JERSEY NUMBER: 14
HEIGHT, WEIGHT: 6-0, 190
POSITION: Point guard
NBA SEASONS: 10
2013-14 SEASON STATS: 68 games, 12.1 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 7.0 apg., 0.8 spg., 39.4 percent FG, 34.8 percent 3FG, 85.7 percent FT.
2013-14 SEASON HIGHS: 31 points (Jan. 15 vs. Bulls); 8 rebounds (Dec. 23 vs. Knicks); 13 assists (Feb. 18 at Bucks); 3 steals (two times – most recent Dec. 8 at Rockets); 1 block (four times – most recent Feb. 19 at Cavaliers); 54 minutes (Jan. 15 vs. Bulls).
BEST MOMENT: Nelson showed that he can still carry an offense in the triple-overtime game against the Bulls in January by scoring 31 points and handing out 10 assists. He finished just four rebounds shy of the first triple-double of his career. That night, Nelson made 13 of 30 shots (most in his career), drilled three 3-pointers and hit both of his free throws. Also, Nelson turned the ball over just twice in 54 minutes. HONORABLE MENTION: Nelson battered the Lakers for 22 points and six assists in a Jan. 24 victory at the Amway Center. He made seven of 11 shot and four of six 3-pointers in the lopsided victory for the Magic.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: A former winner of the Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment award winner, Nelson continued to be active in the Central Florida community this past season. Nelson opened the season by participating in the Chase ``Feeding the Children’’ event and he also took part in a court refurbishment program. Nelson also donated a grant check to the Gift of Swimming and he visited with a couple of special needs children prior to Magic games.
FUTURE ROLE WITH THE MAGIC: Nelson joined Nick Anderson this season as just the second player in team history to play for the Magic for 10 seasons. Nelson, already the team’s leader in assists, further etched his name in the team record books when he passed Shaquille O’Neal and moved into fourth place in Magic history in scoring. However, Nelson’s future with the organization is very much up in the air. He has one year left on his contract, but it is at the team’s option. The Magic value Nelson’s leadership and his talent on the court – he was eighth in the NBA in assists this season – but the team could go in a different direction as it shifts the focus more to young players such as Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle O’Quinn, Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris and the incoming lottery picks. Nelson will likely coach someday, but he feels that he still has plenty left as a point guard and he wants to keep playing next season. If he returns to Orlando, he might have to accept a reduced role as a backup point guard. Regardless of what happens Nelson’s legacy in Orlando is secure.