by Eldon Khorshidi / @eldonadam
Now in his 16th NBA season, Steve Nash is still one of the best point guards in the game. Despite being one of the smallest and least athletic guys in the League, the two-time MVP and seven-time All-Star is the creme de la creme of his position and an indispensable part of the Phoenix Suns. His incredible playmaking, ball handling and shooting ability have made Nash one of the best point men in the history of our game, in part because he excels at the crux of what a point guard is supposed to do: optimizing the talent around him. In other words, he makes his teammates better. A lot better.
Consider this: In the ’04-05 campaign—Nash’s first season back with the Suns—he catalyzed a remarkable turnaround, transporting Phoenix, who had finished 29-53 the previous year, from the dungeon of the Western Conference to an NBA best 62-20 record. Sure, there was an abundance of raw talent on that team: Matrix, STAT, Joe Johnson, etc. But no such thing would’ve occurred if Nash wasn’t there.
When contemplating how to celebrate Nash’s birthday (by “celebrate” I mean deciding what kind of video gallery to construct), the process was short and simple. He has two MVPs for a lot of reasons, none of which include his 26-inch vertical (That’s a random guess. I could easily be wrong.), or exceptional lateral quickness. Instead, we’re going to celebrate what Nash does best, and quite frankly, better than anyone else. Which is distribute the rock. On point. On time. Through windows that don’t exist to me and you.
Nash has unequivocally rewritten the art of getting teammates open, timing the pass and threading the needle. A five-time assist champion, Hair Canada has been doing this for what seems like forever. So in honor of his 38th birthday, we’ve fittingly compiled his 38 best assists throughout his career. The gallery commences with Nash displaying some soccer skills, then the first acutal assist is an outlet pass to Josh Childress which made Nash the Suns all-time assist leader. There’s some alley-oops, transition passes, pick-n-rolls and some plays that never should’ve happened, but did because Steve Nash is, well, Steve Nash. There’s also some vintage tape of Nash and Dirk and a dope montage of his career-high 48 point scoring performance.
Before I end, let me just make one disclaimer: It was really hard to “rank” these passes. Aside from the wow plays, a lot of these could’ve been rearranged in numerous ways. I tried my best, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a hint of arbitrary ranking in the top-10, only because a) all these passes are damn good and b) judging a highlight intrinsically carries some sort of bias. Case in point: you might disagree with the order. Which I encourage. So roll through the gallery above and voice any agreements, disagreements or thoughts down below. Regardless, do so while paying homage to one of the greats. Happy born day, Steve!