Nelson continues to disappoint

February, 12, 2010
02/12/10
10:37
AM ET

One of the bigger stories in the NBA is the change in Jameer Nelson, who has gone from All-Star to flop in the span of a year. In a battle Thursday between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic, the East's top two teams, the point guard's poor performance might have cost his team the game.

By the numbers, Nelson didn't have an awful game, scoring 13 points and dishing five assists in 32 minutes, but his lack of explosiveness was apparent. He was the one Magic player the Cavs played off most of the game, and he didn't make them pay, going just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. He had a minus-11 rating, fitting when you consider the Magic lost by nine points. Nelson even blew multiple wide-open layups, lacking explosion as he reached the cup and leaving observers scratching their heads, wondering just how much his left knee must be bothering him. He had four of the Magic's 13 turnovers, in stark contrast with the efficient performance the Cavaliers got from Daniel Gibson and Delonte West (a combined 19 points, 11 assists and zero turnovers).

The announcers noted that Nelson acknowledged his knee was bothering him and that he was playing injured but did not want to miss any games. It's fantasy owners' only hope that the All-Star break does Nelson well, but at this point, it might seem like wishful thinking. Jason Williams, who scored 10 points and dished two assists in 16 minutes, is already eating into his minutes, and he has failed to average more than 30 minutes per game since November. On Thursday, Nelson showed exactly why he is so painful to own, and as the season enters the home stretch, it might be time for his owners to think about cutting bait.

Looking Back

THURSDAY, FEB. 11
HIGHLIGHTS
Manu Ginobili, Spurs: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 2 3-pointers against the Nuggets.
George Hill, Spurs: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals versus the Nuggets.
LeBron James, Cavaliers: 32 points, 8 rebounds, 13 assists, 3 steals, 2 3-pointers against the Magic.
LOWLIGHTS
Vince Carter, Magic: 14 points (5-16 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists against the Cavaliers.
Jameer Nelson, Magic: 13 points (4-14 FG), 5 assists, 2 steals against the Cavaliers.
J.R. Smith, Nuggets: 14 points (4-14 FG), 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks against the Spurs.
It took much longer than expected, but Delonte West finally made his return from his broken left ring finger Thursday. He was solid in 23 minutes off the bench, scoring eight points, netting six assists and dropping two 3-pointers while accumulating a plus-10 rating, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him in the starting lineup over Daniel Gibson after the break. Unlike Gibson, he can create his own offense at times, and he could end up as a decent source of assists, 3-pointers and steals in the few weeks before Mo Williams' return. … One player who could be in store for a huge second half is Manu Ginobili, who is quietly getting himself up to snuff in the past few games. He hit just four of 11 shots against the Nuggets, but he was active, handing out six assists, tearing down six boards and picking up two steals in just 27 minutes. He's shot poorly most of the season, but he still contributes in enough categories to be worth owning regardless of his field goal percentage, and as a career 45 percent shooter, he's due for a correction soon.

Adam Madison is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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