No offense to E'Twaun Moore. Moore has played extremely well in his four starts this season and has been able to pace the Magic with 14.6 points and 4.0 assists per game. Things with the Magic though are not the same without Jameer Nelson.
Nelson strained his groin and hamstring in the season-opening win over Denver. Orlando has not seen Nelson since. While his modest nine points and seven assists do not say much, there is no doubt that Nelson's leadership and playmaking are something the Magic desperately need on the floor.
Jameer Nelson remains questionable and it does not appear he will play Sunday against the Nets:
Again, Moore has been good, but he is still learning the point guard position and does not quite have the stabilizing and calming effect of the Magic's team captain.
The last two games, Orlando has struggled to get much going offensively. Part of that is because of the lack of improvisation from the Magic's offense. It is pretty predictable right now without a player who is able to create for himself. Nelson is not quite that player, but he is one of Orlando's best playmakers off the dribble and frees up space for everyone. He is certainly Orlando's best ballhandler under pressure.
The Nets simply broke down the Magic in the first meeting between the two Friday. It was a series of offensive rebounds and strong defense that prevented the Magic from getting into the paint and taking mid-range jumpers or difficult shots.
Nelson is good at getting Orlando into its offensive sets and managing the team. He is an extremely valuable piece that is missing right now. It will be difficult for the Magic to get a whole lot better without being perfect in their execution without Nelson.
They will not be able to survive another offensive performance like they had Wednesday and Friday. Nelson is not a cure-all for those performances. But Nelson is a big part of this team's offense.
He seems close to returning as the Magic remain cautious with his injury.