I still have this strange confidence that Jameer Nelson will be the Dallas Mavericks’ starting point guard come opening night.
Mainly because of his 3-point shooting and solid passing ability, that could give Nelson the advantage to be the season-long starter.It’s not that farfetched. It wasn’t that long ago when Nelson was considered one of the top 10 best point guards in the NBA, but ever since the Orlando Magic let go of Dwight Howard, Nelson spent the last few years withering away in Orlando.
But now, Nelson has a new lease on life. He has a veteran head coach that will give him free reign to do what he wants in the offense, and he has a supporting cast around him that will help him thrive in Dallas.
There may be no better situation for Nelson to revive his career than with the Mavs, and that’s why it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Dallas could get a Nelson that may return to All-Star form this season.
Let’s be clear; I’m not calling Jameer Nelson an All-Star for the 2014-15 season. It’s impossible to be a point guard in the All-Star Game unless your name is Chris Paul or Stephen Curry. It’s a long shot, and Nelson is probably one of the last remaining options in the Western Conference, let alone this roster, that would be considered for a spot.
But Nelson putting up All-Star-caliber numbers isn’t that extreme. It’s very possible that Nelson could average 13-15 points per game and almost 6-7 assists. That’s the benefit of having a quality number of guys who can make plays and score points in bunches.
A backcourt of Monta Ellis and Nelson is an efficient combo. Both can handle the ball, but the beauty of playing with a pass-first point guard means Monta doesn’t need to be the primary ball handler. Nelson is a poor man’s Jose Calderon. He may not make as many 3-pointers, but his ability to stretch the floor is something that Ellis can feed off of, just like he did with Calderon last season.
Having two sharpshooters like Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki will only further help Nelson’s effectiveness in the rotation. One of the reasons why Nelson thrived under Stan Van Gundy is the plethora of shooters that camped beyond the 3-point line every game. Nelson is a very good drive-and-kick point guard. His ability to get inside 12-15 feet and either score or pass will be a welcomed addition in Dallas.
Then there’s Tyson Chandler. Nelson was always throwing lobs to Dwight Howard. Tyson’s best trait on the offensive end of the floor is catching passes around the basket. Nelson, who has averaged only 2.2 turnovers throughout his career, will benefit having someone around the basket at all times if the perimeter options are closed.
That, alone, is what Nelson can do in the starting lineup. With how deep this roster is, Nelson could be an X-factor no matter who is on the court with him.
Jameer Nelson may not be an All-Star this year, but he is now in a situation where he can play like one again.