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Orlando Magic's Jameer Nelson Improving after Rough Start

 Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Orlando Magic haven't gotten the sort of production they ought to have expected from point guard Jameer Nelson during the abbreviated 2011/12 season. The eight-year veteran is averaging career-worsts in shooting from the field (39.9 percent) and turnover percentage (18.1 percent), while his 32 percent mark on three-pointers is his worst mark since his rookie season. On top of those struggles, his 9.5 points per game average is his worst since becoming an everyday starter in the 2006/07 season.

But Nelson has showed signs of improvement since February 6th, his first game back since sitting out five games with "concussion-like symptoms" he suffered after two separate collisions with New Orleans Hornets guard Jarrett Jack. In the 13 games he's played since returning--he missed the team's last game before the All-Star Break, an 83-78 defeat to the Atlanta Hawks, due to a sore knee--Orlando's posted a 9-4 record, with Nelson averaging 11.6 points on 41 percent shooting from the field and 34.5 percent from beyond the arc. Though those percentages are sub-par by NBA point guard standards, they still represent strong progress from his slow start to the season. Further, Nelson has scored more consistently upon returning to the lineup, as his low 26.5 volatility rating attests.

Nelson's done more than score more effectively, however: he's averaging 6.1 assists to just 1.7 turnovers during that span. His Pure Point Rating--which weighs a turnover as more harmful than an assist is helpful, and adjusts for minutes played--of 7.6 would trail only José Calderón, Steve Nash, and Chris Paul if he maintained it through the entire season, according to DraftExpress' stats page.

John Hollinger's BAD rating attributed much of Orlando's underwhelming performance to its lack of productivity at the point. Perhaps upgrading that position is less of a concern now that Nelson appears to have gotten himself back on track.

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