Jameer Nelson nears assist record

Jameer Nelson has been a stalwart in the Magic lineup for eight years. Longevity gets you close to all kinds of records.

Tonight, Nelson will likely reach one of these milestones passing one of the Magic's all-time great point guards.

Thanks to eight assists Saturday against New York, Nelson moved one assist away from tying Scott Skiles' franchise record of 2,776 assists. Considering Nelson is averaging a career-high 6.8 assists per game this season and has a 31.8 percent assist rate.

Tonight Nelson will enter the Magic record books. Sure it took him 8.5 years and it took Skiles only five years. But who is counting? Longevity counts for something.

Nelson has had a kind of torn relationship with passing. In college he was a scoring guard and the knock on him entering the NBA Draft was that he focused too much on his scoring and not enough on his distributing. Still, the Magic took a chance on him trading a future first round pick for Nelson's rights in the 2004 Draft.

It proved to be a shrewd move as Nelson has been superb as a scorer on the Magic's title-contending teams. Still, people were disappointed in his lack of passing ability. It is something he has greatly improved upon in the last three or four years. But the window to win a title closed.

Hopefully this accomplishment will serve a small measure of his passing prowess.

The downside however is that this erases Scott Skiles from the record books. Skiles was a great passer and averaged 7.2 assists per game in his five years with the Magic. He was a great leader and probably the greatest pure point guard in team history.

Here are some great Skiles highlights for posterity's sake:

Tip off is tonight at 10 p.m. against Portland.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily