Top NBA Players: #18 Steve Nash

Oct. 10, 2012; Ontario, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) guards Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) in the second half of the game at the Citizens Business Bank Arena. Portland won 93-75. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Steve Nash
Resume: 12.5 points, 10.7 assists (2nd in league), 3.0 rebounds, 31.6 minutes, 53% FG, 39% 3PT, and 89% FT (4th in league)… Team record in games played: 32-30 (1-3 without)… All-Star, 9th in MVP Voting

There are literally (and by literally I mean figuratively) not enough words I could use to describe how much I admire Steve Nash. If you are a basketball fan, and I mean a true basketball fan, it is impossible not to enjoy watching Steve Nash play basketball. I know nothing about art but I have to imagine that how I feel when I’m watching Nash play the point guard position is similar to how an art enthusiast feels when they walk in to The Louvre. There is something artistic and beautiful about the way Steve Nash can manage a game and get the best out of every single guy on his team. He sees things on the floor before they materialize and before other guys on the floor even think about looking for them.

“Nash’s 2011-12 campaign gives meaning to the word valuable. His uninspiring supporting cast features Shannon Brown, Josh Childress, Jared Dudley, Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat, Grant Hill, Michael Redd, Markieff Morris and Sebastian Telfair. In summary, his best teammate (Gortat) was Dwight Howard’s back up and possibly has the biggest nose in the NBA. His 2nd best teammate (Hill) is a year older than Nash himself. Translation: Nash is making chicken salad out of chicken shit, and it tastes pretty good. Somehow, Nash has turned a Suns team that doesn’t feature a guard who can create a shot for himself—unless you want to count Michael Redd, who is willing to pull the trigger from anywhere— into a potential playoff team, in the Western Conference no less.”

That is what I wrote about Steve Nash back in April when I was discussing his MVP credentials. As you could see, I was clearly not a big fan of the Suns outside of Nash. Was there much reason to be?  What Nash did for that relatively atrocious team epitomizes what the MVP trophy is about. When Nash won back to back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006 he was never the best player in the league. I wasn’t trying to make the argument that Nash was the best player in the league. Then again, the criterion for the MVP award doesn’t look just at overall skill level and statistics. It’s about the positive effect you have on your team and teammates, and you could make a case that over the last decade Nash, LeBron and Tim Duncan have had more of a positive effect on their teams and teammates than anyone else in the league. It makes sense that Nash, Duncan and LeBron have won a combined seven MVP awards since 2002.

Unlike Duncan and more recently LeBron, Nash has not won the elusive NBA Championship. And hell would’ve had to freeze over multiple times before he was going to win one with Phoenix. Apparently Steve Nash was saying his prayers and eating his vitamins, and by the power of all of the Hulkamaniacs in the universe he was traded to the mighty Los Angeles Lakers. Now, Nash is valuable in a much different way than we have been familiar to seeing in the past. He needs to get Kobe his shots… Plenty of them. He needs to also get Pau Gasol involved in the offense so he doesn’t slip into a catatonic state that we all know is totally in play. He needs to keep Dwight Howard from throwing a temper tantrum and taking a disgusting crap all over the Lakers organization just like he did to the Magic.

The Lakers have the pieces in place to win an NBA Championship, but those pieces are as sturdily placed as a half torn down Jenga tower. Nash has to be the stabilizing force in this mix of a homicidal competitor (Kobe), a homicidal… well, just a homicidal person overall (Metta World Peace), the moodiest and most wishy-washy player in the NBA (Dwight Howard), a passive yet gifted Spaniard (Gasol) and a coach who as my Mom says “Looks like he’s always confused” (Mike Brown). Somehow, Nash will make everything mesh just like he always has. He has that effect that so few have. It something that goes beyond simply playing basketball. Something that can’t totally be measured by assists numbers or MVP trophies.