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The Return of Jameer Nelson Has Ruined Rafer Alston

Andrew Robeson@SportswriterguyAnalyst IIJune 8, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07:  Jameer Nelson #14 of the Orlando Magic goes up against Jordan Farmar #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Much has been made about Jameer Nelson's surprise return to the Orlando Magic for the NBA Finals. Nelson was having an All-Star type season before his "season ending" injury four months ago.

However, after his injury the Magic brought in Rafer Alston to play the point, and he was the guy who took the Magic through the playoffs.

So, who gets the minutes?

The better player or the guy who was actually on the court when the Magic slayed King LeBron?

What should have happened was Jameer Nelson taking Anthony Johnson's minutes.

Although Nelson is better than Alston, why mess with a winning formula?

All that went out the door in the second quarter of Game One.

Nelson played the entire quarter while Alston watched.

Now, let me tell you something about Rafer Alston.

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He is a head case.

A nut.

Someone who hates authority and does not always get along with teammates.

When general manager Otis Smith was discussing the trade that brought Alston to the Magic, he referred to him as "Plan F," as in the plan that came after A,B,C,D, and E.

When Alston was asked to discuss his reputation, he said "Sometimes I allow my emotions to get the best of me."

However, something is different about Alston's relationship with Stan Van Gundy. The only times Alston has made it out of the first round of the playoffs, Van Gundy has been his coach.

These two had a relationship that no other coach had been able to have with Alston. There was mutual respect and Alston performed at his peak for Van Gundy.

In Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals, Rafer Alston played 38 minutes, had 13 points, and the Orlando Magic won.

Game Five against the Cavs?

Alston had three points and the Magic lost.

Game Four?

26 points and a Magic victory.

While there are definitely other factors, there is some correlation between Alston's success and the Magic's success.

So, let's get back to the discussion here.

Van Gundy pretty much benched Alston for the entire second quarter of Game One. With Alston's fragile mindset, you know that had to do something to his game.

While Alston was not having a great game to begin with in Game One, he quickly deteriorated after Nelson replaced him.

He shot two-of-nine from the field and missed numerous open shots.

Van Gundy openly insulted Alston after the game for his poor performance.

Come on Stan.

Do you not realize what you did this guy?

He got you here, not Jameer Nelson.

With your team down, it should have been Alston on the court.

Not Nelson.

We all know Nelson is better, but, even saying that, who takes four months off and comes out sharp?

Nelson played well, but still only shot three-of-nine from the field.

Alston's ego is hurt, and once that happens his game goes with it. It already looks too late to get him back on his game, even as Van Gundy went to Alston in the clutch in Game Two rather than Nelson.

In Game Two, Alston had one field goal on eight attempts while Nelson was one for three from the field.

Neither were on the court for the final minutes of the fourth quarter as Van Gundy instead opted to have shootings guard J.J. Redick and Courtney Lee on the floor.

The Magic managed to stay in the game with the help of their big men Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, and Rashard Lewis. However, it is difficult to win games when you only get eight combined points from your point guard position over five quarters.

Rashard Lewis, you know the small forward who was busy scoring 34 points and grabbing ten boards, had more assists with seven than the Alston and Nelson combined, which was five.

So, what did Stan accomplish?

He alienated his starting point guard to test out how good his backup was.

I hate to say it, but the Magic should have kept to their original story.

Jameer Nelson?

No way is he available for the Finals.

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