After playing for four seasons at Saint Joseph's, where he was named the winner of the John R. Wooden and Naismith College Player of the Year Awards after helping the team to an undefeated 27-0 regular season, Nelson was selected in the first round (20th overall) of the 2004 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets.
The 6-footer was sent to the Orlando Magic in a draft-night trade. After he showed promise as a backup to point guard Steve Francis, the Magic moved Francis to shooting guard, paving the way for Nelson to be tabbed as a second-team All-Rookie selection.
Nelson spent 10 seasons in Orlando and is the team's all-time assists leader (3,501) and fifth all-time in points (8,184). In his lone All-Star season, Nelson averaged a career-high 16.7 points in 2008-09. The 38-year-old became an NBA journeyman, with stints in Dallas, Boston, Denver, New Orleans and Detroit.