Dallas Mavericks

Carlisle defends Nelson, says he’s going to get better and better

DALLAS – Dallas Mavericks starting point guard Jameer Nelson doesn’t have any staggering statistics attached to his name just yet.

But that hasn’t stopped his coach, Rick Carlisle, from rushing to the defense of his 11-year veteran.

"He’s doing a good job,’’ Carlisle said after Monday’s practice at American Airlines Center. "I like him and I like a lot of the things that he’s doing, and he’s going to get better and better.’’

Nelson, now in his first season with the Mavs, is averaging modest numbers of 7.9 points and 3.3 assists in 26.1 minutes per game. He also has just 12 turnovers in the Mavs’ seven games, and is shooting 38.5 percent from the field and a respectable 40 percent from 3-point range.

Carlisle noted that he has to make sure Nelson gets better looks at the basket.

"The thing that I need to realize is he’s a very good scorer off the dribble – he’s unique in that way,’’ Carlisle said. "He’s better than a lot of guys.

"He can generate good looks at (the 3-pointers) off the dribble in pick-and-rolls. When he shoots those, how he steps into them is going to determine how good of a shot they are. I talked to him a little bit about that today.’’

Nelson scored a season-high 11 points to go with five assists and four turnovers during Sunday’s 105-96 loss to the Miami Heat. Slowly, he’s getting accustomed to his new teammates and their nuances, while also trying to strike a balance on when he should look for his offense.

"It’s just one of those things you have to get use to just certain situations,’’ Nelson said. "Certain things are a little different, but for the most part (Carlisle) just allows me to just play.

"You can’t ask for anything else from a coach just to let me play. I’m going to give him everything I have on the defensive end and do my best on the offensive end.’’

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