Examining Jameer Nelson’s Shot Selection So Far
“So lay down, the threat is real, When his sight goes red again. So lay down, the threat is real, When his sight goes red again.” – Chevelle
So what can we learn from the above shotchart? Let’s take a look:
- It’s not a huge surprise that Jameer’s shots typically come at the basket or behind the three-point line. The problem lies in the conversion of those shots – which isn’t really happening with any sort of consistency.
- The three-point shooting overall, in terms of percentage, is down for the fourth consecutive year. Some of this certainly is a factor in losing the floor spacing provided by Dwight Howard, Ryan Anderson and Rashard Lewis. However, look at those elbow-land three-point attempts. 12-46 so far this season. The last time the Magic were a legitimate championship contender, 2010-2011, Jameer was shooting 42% from those same elbow-threes. Now, without those other floor spacing big men, Jameer resorts to taking quick pull up threes - mostly off of pick and rolls/pops.
- Jameer has always been pretty adept at getting himself into the paint and to the the rim. Finishing is another story entirely. For his career, he has managed to convert at a 55.2% clip within the restricted area – comparable to the league average every year. However, last year the number dropped to 52.5% and now this year at 50.9%. Once again you see the effect of not having defenders sucked over to Dwight Howard in the lane. Has Jameer suddenly gotten worse at hitting diving, running layups? Doubtful. Have defenders suddenly realized they can attack him directly rather than having to fear a Dwight alley-oop? Likely.
So how can he correct some of these inefficiencies?
- While Jameer’s game has always been centered around his own scoring, he needs to focus more on creating for his teammates.
- His teammates need to do a better job of spacing the floor and moving the ball for him. Those elbow three-point attempts would look significantly better coming from the shorter corner three than up-top.
- When Jameer drives, his teammates must understand that they have to cut hard towards space. There should always be a man in the corner (Harkless has improved at this) and there should always be a Vucevic or Big Baby trailer (or even Oladipo when on the floor). While defenders will never fully respect Vucevic the way they did with Dwight, they will always respect the “extra pass”.
While Jameer isn’t the same player he once was, he still is one of the most important cogs in helping the young roster develop. He must seek to create good shots for his teammates and limit the bad shots he tends to take when he hasn’t been involved enough. At a minimum, to bump that trade value back up (like Afflalo!).
In a nutshell: do better.