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Jameer Nelson vs Mike Conley’s Contract

November 2, 2010

Have you heard of Mike Conley Jr.? Unless you hail from Columbus or Memphis or you are a die-hard NBA fan, you probably don’t know much about the 6’1” PG for the Memphis Grizzlies.  Conley’s name has been the  subject of much criticism the last few days due to the absurd contract extension that he was given by Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley on Monday evening.  Conley was gifted a 5-year, $40M contract based upon… a yet to be identified statistic.  The signing, besides clearly being bizarre, reminded me of what I once considered an equally ridiculous contract extension.  That would be the 5 year, $38M extension that was given to Jameer Nelson in October 2007.  At the time, I thought that the Magic had created the sort of franchise suicide that writers are claiming Memphis has done in this case.    Looking back on it, it turned out to be a great deal for Orlando and Jameer would go on to become an all-star caliber player.  However, just because the risk turned into reward, that doesn’t mean it was a good deal at the time.

Let’s take a look at the numbers of Jameer Nelson and Mike Conley for both player’s first three years.

Player From To G GS MP FG% 3P% FT% AST PTS
Conley 2008 2010 215 187 30 0.44 0.39 0.77 4.7 10.9
Nelson 2005 2007 218 131 26.3 0.45 0.36 0.78 4 11.9

Notice a substantial difference anywhere? Notice much of a difference anywhere at all? No.  Does that mean Conley is going to turn into Jameer Nelson? No.  It IS a possibility though, no matter how slim of a possibility it may be.  Magic fans will remember Jameer’s early days when he was battling with Carlos Arroyo for playing time and when for some reason he was always taking the last shot in close games.  A play that typically consisted of him dribbling around the top of the key for 15 seconds and then jacking up a bad jump shot.   Nobody thought he would turn into the player he is today.  With that being said, Jameer Nelson was a Naismith College Player of the Year while at St. Joseph’s University and played four years learning the game.  Conley was a one and done player at Ohio State who still has room to grow.  This technically would have been his rookie season in the NBA had he stayed for four years.  Conley is still raw and maybe Michael Heisley and the Grizzlies organization knows and sees something that the rest of us do not. Maybe Mike Conley will turn into Jameer Nelson or better. Or maybe the Grizzlies are just severely overpaying another average player and working on their attempt to run the Grizz out of another city.  Either way, Memphis fans shouldn’t jump ship quite yet and Magic fans should be grateful that Jameer Nelson is playing PG in Orlando for a mere $7.8M this year.

After the jump you can take a look at a list of all the PG’s who make more money than both Conley and Nelson this year.  It may surprise you…

It could be worse, check out the list of point guards that are making more than $8M this year and should NOT be making what they are making: Gilbert Arenas $17.7M, Baron Davis $13M, Mo Williams $9.3M, Jose Calderon $9M, Devin Harris $8.9M, T.J. Ford $8.5M

PG’s earning their pay: Deron Williams $14.9M, Tony Parker $13.5M, Steve Nash $10.3M, Chris Paul $14.9M, Chauncey Billups $13.1M, Jason Kidd $8.6M, Rajon Rondo $9M

Brian Serra is the founder of  You can follow/add him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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