Washington Wizards Trade Rumors: Why the Wizards Shouldn’t Trade For Jameer Nelson


Andre Miller has been a symbol of consistency since arriving in a trade from the Denver Nuggets mid-way through the 2013-14 NBA season. Never flashy, he has a quiet personality and a calm demeanor. He can’t jump over a phone book but he still manages to find his way to the rim and score amongst the trees. Professor Dre will not make you fall head over heels with stylish passing ability but he finds the open man and he knows how to operate an efficient offense.

There have been reports in recent days that claim the Wizards are attempting to trade for Denver Nuggets point-guard Jameer Nelson. The trade rumor has me wondering why in the world the Wizards would want to acquire the former All-Star (for the Orlando Magic in 2008-2009).

Sure, Nelson has some scoring ability and he has the experience as a starter for the Magic for the majority of 10 seasons but his best days are behind him. He has been banged up throughout his career, suffering injuries such as a torn labrum and a strained patella tendon in his knee when he was in Orlando. As recently as this season, he has dealt with ankle soreness and he is currently dealing with a strained Achilles tendon that has kept him out of the past four Nuggets games.

The Nuggets are Jameer’s third team this season. He began the season with the Dallas Mavericks after signing as a free-agent. He was traded to the Boston Celtics as part of the Rajon Rondo trade after 23 games in ‘The Big D’. After a cup of coffee in Boston (six games), the Celtics traded Nelson to the Nuggets for Nate Robinson. This season, he has changed uniforms more often than a high-school graduate searching for a career.

Nelson has played his best basketball of the season as a Denver Nugget. He has played in 11 games, including one start, and he has averaged 9.5 points, 4.5 assists and 2.0 assists per-game. His contributions haven’t helped the team win any more games considering the Nuggets have a 1-10 record over that span. You can’t put that solely on Nelson though… the Nuggets (20-33) have been a complete mess all season and it will probably cost Coach Brian Shaw his job.

If you’re the Wizards General Manager, Ernie Grunfield, you have to ask yourself, “Is Jameer Nelson a player that is going to help us take the next step towards the Eastern Conference Finals?”

The answer is no.

Why would you want to commit to Nelson (he has a $2.85 million player option for 2015-16) when you have a great veteran point-guard on your bench?

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Miller has been a valuable contributor for the entire season but he continues to be under-appreciated. It’s the story of his career. His stats will never pop off the page at you but if you dive into them you will see he is one of the best backup point-guards in the NBA.

He is currently averaging 3.6 points, 2.8 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 0.9 turnovers per-game but he is only playing 12.9 minutes per-game behind John Wall. Comparatively, Nelson is receiving 21.8 minutes per-game with the Nuggets.

Andre Miller has one of the highest assists-to-turnover ratios in the league. His 3.11 assists-per-turnover rank seventh in the NBA. He is also averaging 10.9 assists-per-48-minutes which is good enough for ninth. Miller has played in 11 games where he received 15 or more minutes.

When you give him those three extra minutes a night, his numbers take a sudden jump. He has averaged 6.2 points, 4.3 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.17 turnover per-game with a 3.63 assist-to-turnover ratio. That 3.63 is real nice when you consider that Chris Paul, Ty Lawson and JJ Barea are the only three players that rank higher.

Miller has never been a scorer (although he had a 52-point point game with the Portland Trailblazers in 2010) but he does shoot an incredible percentage considering his limitations athletically. He hardly shoots from the perimeter but he is efficient, and it shows up when you look at his 54.2 shooting percentage.

He knows what his strengths and weaknesses are, and he will never try to do too much or push the issue. The only reason Nelson outscores Miller by such a large margin is the disparity in field goal attempts. Nelson has shot the ball 9.3 times per-game with the Nuggets while Miller shoots a measly 2.8 attempts per-game.

I could understand if the Wizards wanted to give the bench a shot in the arm with a high-volume shooter but bench scoring is not a problem. The team ranks 12th in the NBA with 34.8 points per-game off their bench.

The second unit shoots a great 47.0 percent from the field, including 37.2 from beyond the arc. Both of those stats rank in the top five.

The only explanation for acquiring Jameer Nelson is a pretty weak one. It comes down to age.

Miller is 38 years-old and Nelson is 33; neither player is a spring chicken. I could see Miller being a valuable contributor on a team into his 40’s. He has a high basketball I.Q. and that is an attribute you either have or you don’t. Teams will find a roster spot for him.

At this point, he gives you a smart veteran at half of the price of Nelson. There is no reason to have a three-man rotation when John Wall is playing 35.7 minutes per-game.

The Washington Wizards need to hold onto the assets they currently have. They have to be patient and not let this recent stretch motivate them to make a trade. This current roster has been a top team in the Eastern Conference for the entire season.

The only scenario in which they should make a trade has to be a no-brainer upgrade that you can’t turn down. If Player X and Player Y are near one another in capability, why would you trade for Player Y when the commitment will cost you an extra $3 million?

Stand pat Wiz, stand pat.

Next: Examining the Guard Market For The Wizards