It was only a matter of time until this story came out. Jameer Nelson's play has been sub-par so far this season, especially his normally consistent jump shot. Nelson and star center, Dwight Howard, have been tight since they became teammates after the Magic acquired them in the 2004 NBA Draft. Howard has openly stated that he would like to play with elite point guards, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel reports that General Manager of the Orlando Magic Otis Smith has openly stated that the Dwight Howard trade rumors have affected Jameer Nelson's game.
"They're the best of friends," Smith continued, referring to Nelson and Howard. "They get along. They've had their talks about this whole thing. But the human side of it? It still bothers him a little bit."
"He has to play better, and he recognizes he has to play better," Smith said Friday. "But through all of this, he's the one that's taking the pounding. And, right now, he's justifying the pounding, because he's not playing well. But we sometimes forget in professional sports that they're people. Regardless of what we talk about, they're still human beings.
"So, as tough as he wants to be on the outside, he's a 30-year-old kid. So, we still have to work through the mental aspect of him taking a pounding. The center doesn't come out and say it's directly on Jameer, but basically he has."
It is really obvious that Jameer Nelson has not been himself during the start of this season. I have openly stated that here on this website. I questioned whether his confidence was rattled or was it an injury that has been derailing his shot. After reading Smith's comments, I tend to believe it is a confidence issue. Nelson knocked down two three pointers Friday night so maybe he can get out of this slump soon. The other thing that I take out of these comments is that why is Otis Smith even talking about this? By stating that Howard has thrown Nelson under the bus, Smith has essentially thrown Howard under the bus. I really believe that Otis Smith is beyond stressed right now with his impending decision on what to do with Dwight Howard, and that he is commenting on this to take the pressure off of him and try and make Howard look like the bad guy. I think that Smith is going about this the wrong way. He doesn't need to upset his superstar because that is not the way that will convince Howard to remain with the Magic. I have a feeling that this may be Smith's last year as General Manager of the Magic because he has beyond butchered the chance of building an elite team around Howard.
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