Denver Nuggets backup point guard Jameer Nelson has a decision to make this summer, whether to pickup his player option worth $2.85 million or test the free agent market when July 1 rolls around?
RealGMis reporting that Nelson is expected to opt of his contract but has not officially informed the Nuggets of his final decision. The 6-foot guard and the Nuggets have reportedly been in discussion about a new contract and could possibly continue those discussions even if he opts out — Nelson has until June 29 to inform the team.
Nelson told the Denver Post that he has enjoyed his time in Denver but wants to be more than just a ‘locker room leader’.
“The organization has been great, my teammates have been unbelievable, I appreciate the coaches — everybody,” he said. “It’s just one of those things that I have to sit down and talk to my family, my agency and decide what I need to do to continue to play at a high level on a team that really wants me.”
Nelson averaged 8.3 points, 4.0 assists and 2.3 rebounds a game while playing in 63 games for three teams last year — Denver, Boston and Dallas. Nelson, 33, played perhaps his basketball in the past few years once he joined the Nuggets from Boston in January. Nelson registered 9.6 points and 3.7 assists with the Nuggets while shooting 45.0 percent from the field.
While Nelson’s production has slowly been on the decline recently, he would still be a very useful backup for a playoff contending team or a great mentor for a young team due to his basketball IQ. Nelson is an excellent distributor and crafty ball-handler in pick-n-roll situations. He also does not turn the ball over a lot — his career assist percentage is at 31 percent while his turnover rate is at 16 percent, according to Basketball-Reference. Nelson continues to be a consistent scorer.
However, Nelson has struggled with his shooting the past couple of seasons as his offensive game has changed. He now shoots more three-pointers than two-pointers. Nelson still finishes at the rim decently though he doesn’t get to the basket nearly as much as he once did. He has also improved his mid-range game but is still not efficient. Nelson mainly struggles with shots taken from 3-feet-to-10-feet and 16-feet to the three-point mark.
Nelson has gotten better at shooting off the dribble and has developed into an excellent spot up three-point shooter from the corner — he made 48 percent of his corner three’s last year compared to 34. percent he made on all his three-point attempts.
Defense is a different story for Nelson. He has never been a great defender and has slowly regressed to being a liability on that end of the floor. Nelson is relatively small and very slow-footed. Nelson registered 111 defensive rating, marking the third straight year it has been at least 110. His career defensive rating is 107.
For his career,the 11-year oft-injured veteran averages 12.2 points, 5.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds a game. He shoots 44.0 percent from the field an 37.1 percent from beyond the arc. Nelson spent his first 10 years of his career with the Orlando Magic.
If Nelson does opt-out, which teams would be interested? The guess is a lot as at least a dozen teams were interested in Nelson last summer. However, as previously reported by Inquisitr there are several other enticing point guards likely to be on the open market.
In addition to the Nuggets wanting him to return to Denver, Bleacher Report’s Tim MacLean believes he would be a good fit in Golden State. The Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards may also be interested in a cheap backup point guard.
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