instead. Black and Blue's Orlando Magic Blog: The World Wants To Know!...Should We Give Jameer The Extension?

Monday, September 24, 2007

The World Wants To Know!...Should We Give Jameer The Extension?

Well, Jameer Nelson is doing what most free agents do: Indicating his interest to stay with his current team.

Jameer said yesterday that he wants to stay with the Magic, and that he is happy with his role here. This would have been all well and good if the inevitable free agent speak didn't pop out afterwards, with him proclaiming that "business is business". I have yet to hear a classier way of saying "Show me the moneyyyyy!" The bottom line is that Nelson wants to be paid like a starting point guard who is also the leader for his team. -The problem is that last year Nelson wasn't exactly stellar in either of those roles, finishing the year with lackluster stats and presiding over a team implosion.

Some players use adversity to their advantage, and Nelson has indicated that the much-publicized death of his father will allow him to have a career year. While this is a neat prospect, one thing that keeps drumming in the back of my mind is the fact that many scouts saw Nelson in college as a player who didn't have much potential for growth and would be a career backup. Right now those scouts are lighting up cigars with how right their assessments seemed to be (Note: I have no idea if scouts live a very plush life, following kid basketball players around, so cigars might be a stretch. Maybe they smoke something more spartan like rolled up newspaper...)

The problem with Nelson's contract negotiations lie in the fact that the Magic still can't properly evaluate his value to the team. There is going to be a new offensive system in place, as well as a second scorer to (hopefully) take the scoring burden off of Nelson's shoulders. In addition, Nelson was up and down all season long and the team has to decide if he is the leader who can be counted on to take the final shot or just a backup who happens to start on a team.

Personally, after last season I am pretty skeptical. I was not a huge fan out of what I saw with Nelson, especially when I watched him play live. He has a penchant for driving to the basket without an idea of what his options are around him. This causes him to drive into the lane and run right back out again, passing wildly for someone to bail him out. It got so bad last year, that my friends and I named the move I described above "The Nelson". Many Magic-Nets games were punctuated with gaggles of cheers, "He's doing The Nelson! He's doing it! Wow, look at Dwight Howard roll his eyes!"

For this reason I hope Otis Smith sticks to his guns and actually sees how Jameer does this upcoming season before giving him an extension and indicating to the team that he will be a vital cog in our future plans. There are just too many question marks to jump the gun in my opinion.
Also, if Nelson winds up snubbing a future offer from us it won't be such huge news. -Not like he went back to coach Florida or anything...

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