His signing might not have been the Mavs’ most heralded of the summer, but Jameer Nelson is an ideal acquisition in every sense of the word.
When clubs like Dallas look for free agents — teams that are eyeing a high position in the conference and a potentially deep playoff run — three important factors stand out more than any other: disposition, fit in the system, and cost. How those key ingredients come together in a player’s makeup determines whether or not a contending team will bother pursuing him. Nelson checks out on all three, giving Dallas yet another capable guard in its already deep stable.
Nelson isn’t a rising star like, say, Chandler Parsons. At 32 years old, he is what he is at this point. But that’s just fine. He’s a veteran player who understands his role in the system and has played on several successful teams in the past. Dwight Howard might have been the centerpiece of the Orlando Magic’s steady run during the late ’00s and early ’10s, but Nelson was one of the more proven players on the squad, flirting with a 50/40/90 during the 2008-09 season before a torn labrum sidelined him for half the season. He was an All-Star that year and hit threes at a 45.3 percent clip. His three-point percentage sank below 35 percent during each of the past two seasons for the first time since 2007 (more on that later), but much of that had to do with the supporting cast in Orlando after Howard was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers. Nelson isn’t the type of player to settle for declining percentages, however.