If there were an NBA award for “washed-up role player thanklessly playing for bad team,” then Andre Miller would’ve won it, like, five times, but this year’s recipient would definitely have to be Denver Nuggets point guard Jameer Nelson.
Nelson pulled off one of the flashiest plays of the season last night, showcasing his expert passing ability, which hasn’t been on display since his Orlando Magic days. Now 35 years old, Nelson is the backup point guard for the 29-34 Denver Nuggets and has been so for two years now.
Jameer Nelson is a BONAFIDE BALLER pic.twitter.com/gxu898s8b1
— NBA (@NBA) March 7, 2017
Currently in his third season with the Nuggets, Nelson ended up in Denver following a tumultuous period in his career. After spending a decade with the Magic, in which he became one of the league’s top point guards and was selected to play in the 2009 All-Star Game, Nelson was waived by the rebuilding Magic in the summer of 2014, thus allowing him to join a contender.
Nelson then signed with the Dallas Mavericks but never jelled with the disappointing Mavs and was a trading chip in the deal that sent Jae Crowder to the Boston Celtics. Not needed by guard-heavy Boston, Nelson was soon traded as part of a cap-clearing deal to the Nuggets.
Understandably, Nelson turned down his player option in the offseason, making it seem as though the veteran with no rings to his name would join a contender. However, Nelson made the shocking decision later in the offseason to re-sign with the lowly Nuggets. And not only did he re-sign. He re-signed for three years.
Apparently willing to serve as the mentor for young Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, Nelson, who, again, has never won a championship, is choosing to stick it out with a franchise that’s on the rise but nowhere near competing for a title.
So kudos to Jameer for willingly playing the role of thankless veteran point guard. Although most NBA fans probably assumed that he was retired before his highlight made the rounds last night, at least he’s helping out a team that needs it.
Hopefully, for Nelson’s sake, he still has some play left in him by the time he’s a free agent next summer and that a contender will give him a chance. Because wasting three years with a crummy team in your twilight years is a tough way to go out.