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Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 at 3:00 pm  |  77 responses

Top 50: Steve Nash, no. 21

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players for ’12-13.

by Yaron Weitzman | @YaronWeitzman

There really is no explanation for Steve Nash being No. 21 on this list.

It’s not that he’s undeserving of this honor; any point guard who can average 12.5 points and 10.7 assists per game while shooting 53 percent from the field, 39 percent from behind the arc and 89 percent from the charity stripe most certainly does. Rather, what I mean is that, well, he’s old. Like really old.

Steve Nash is currently 38 years old. On February 7 he will turn 39, which is exactly how old Jalen Rose and Chris Webber are, and I’m pretty certain I’ve been watching the two of them analyze the game they used to play for the past 10 years.

Thirty-eight-year-old professional basketball players are supposed to be in the decline phases of their careers. Actually, they’re not supposed to be in the midst of any career phase; when an NBA player gets to his upper 30s, his career is supposed to be something that was, not is.

The few anomalies that are able to hang on usually do so by serving as a contending team’s veteran presence on the bench. They certainly aren’t supposed to be the best players and focal points of their teams, and they certainly aren’t supposed to put up near historic shooting numbers like Nash did last season.

What’s most incredible about Steve Nash, though, is that his ability to combat the undefeated foe of father time in a way that few ever have may not even be the most impressive line on his resume. In fact, the most impressive line on his resume is probably the fact that it’s so hard to choose just one impressive line.

Think about this: Steve Nash may be the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA. Only seven players in the sport’s history have shot at least 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from behind the arc and 90 percent from the free-throw line for a season. Nash has accomplished that feat four times, and nearly hit those marks again last year. No one else has done so more than twice. Yet shooting is rarely the first skill that someone mentions when talking about what makes the two-time MVP so great.

How many players can that be said about it? How many players in the history of the sport have done something on the court better than anyone else ever has, only to see that skill constantly relegated to the bottom of the list when factors behind said player’s greatness are being discussed? It would be like not mentioning defense when trying to explain what made Bill Russell so great. That just doesn’t happen, yet with Nash, the conversation—rightfully so—always starts with his passing and court vision and leadership, not with his historic ability to efficiently shoot a basketball.

This year, though, things will be different. This year, Nash will be wearing purple and gold and playing in Los Angeles and sharing the court with Kobe Bryant. This year, Nash will not be handed the keys to the car, or at least not as frequently as he was during his eight years in Phoenix. This year, Nash will have to defer to Kobe and throw the ball into the post and spend time spotting up on the wing.

But what makes Nash so great is that he’s not just a system point guard—a la Raymond Felton or Jeremy Lin—who only thrives when allowed to play a certain way. When you can shoot and pass and dribble and think like Nash, you become the rare piece that can smoothly fit into any puzzle.

Nash’s shooting will give the Lakers some much-needed spacing when Pau Gasol and Bryant are posting up. His brilliance in the pick-and-roll will give Dwight Howard—statistically, the best pick-and-roll finisher in the NBA last season—and the Lakers more easy baskets than either had all of last year. His uncanny ability to elevate the play of those around him—last season, Nash’s Phoenix teammates shot 47.4 percent when he was on the floor and 41.6 percent when he wasn’t—may be the only chance the Lakers have of winning a title while they have players like Steve Blake and Jordan Hill getting minutes off the bench.

As the ‘12-13 NBA season approaches, many seem to be under the belief that the Lakers can be a Championship contender and one of the best offensive teams in the League if Nash can figure out how to play with Bryant and Howard and Gasol. That line of thinking is backwards.

The Lakers will be a Championship contender and one of the best offensive teams in the League because Nash is playing with Bryant and Howard and Gasol. There’s no if.

Not when an offensive wizard like Steve Nash is involved.


Where should Steve Nash rank in the SLAMonline Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12
46 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 11
45 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 14
44 Anthony Davis Hornets PF 13
43 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 12
42 Al Horford Hawks C 7
41 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 10
40 Danny Granger Pacers SF 6
39 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 11
38 John Wall Wizards PG 9
37 Monta Ellis Bucks SG 8
36 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 10
35 Roy Hibbert Pacers C 6
34 Tyson Chandler Knicks C 5
33 Eric Gordon Hornets SG 7
32 Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 9
31 Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 6
30 Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks PF 8
29 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 4
28 DeMarcus Cousins Kings C 3
27 Paul Pierce Celtics SF 5
26 Andre Iguodala Nuggets SG 5
25 Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 4
24 Josh Smith Hawks PF 7
23 Derrick Rose Bulls PG 8
22 Joe Johnson Nets SG 4
21 Steve Nash Lakers PG 7

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • Dutch Rich

    Fair. Guards left in order.
    Rondo
    Kyrie
    TP
    DWill
    CP3

  • Dutch Rich

    Correction
    Rondo
    TP
    Kyrie
    DWill
    CP3

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oh how overrated a guy can be. he’s going to play what, 32 minutes a night? max? and he doesn’t defend. this ranking is off imo – for example, it will be pretty hard to convince me Nash does more/better for LA this year than Josh Smith does for Atlanta. Or considering what he does, I doubt he is more important to LA than Garnett is to Boston. If we are comparing veterans that is.

  • Sérgio

    I agree with you. KG is too damn low in this list.

  • Dutch Rich

    Go take your medicine and come back, we’ll wait for you

  • Otis

    That means that KG is too low, though, not that Nash is too high…

  • justin05

    I don’t think the rating is too high but Slam hardly takes defense into consideration anyway, we know that. Will Dwight get spot #3 because of his defense though?? hmm.. I say Nash is about 27th in the league

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    It means both.

    .

  • MUBWAR

    this is blasphemous. Nash is easily a top 15 player. 12 and 11 while shooting 50 40 90. the only reason he is not a top 10 player is because he cannot defend anyone but dwight will take care of that.

  • justin05

    There are 6 point guards left. Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and Chris Paul. That’s my guess but it’s hard to compare all of those guys. Cp3 is the clear #1 and Irving should be next.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    You forgot Westbrook.

  • LeroyShonuff

    Soo he’s better than Garnett, Rudy Gay, Josh Smith, Rose, Iggy and Timmy??? No way slam. No way. He is a worse defender than Jameer Nelson ever was and Dwight got tired of cleaning up after him. When the lakers slow the pace down, he will get kobe, artest, pau and others in foul trouble by them consistency having to help on defense. He should of been in the 40′s. Yes he can still shoot, but shooting and passing ability doesn’t justify a ranking this high. I’m just waiting for Blake and Love to be ranked in the top 10. Hilarious

  • Onions Baby Onions

    Not overrated. His defensive shortcomings can be mitigated by the right system, and as the article points out, he’s arguably the best passer and shooter in the entire league. The things Kobe will be able to do as a result of getting the ball sent perfectly into his shooting pocket off a little curl, and the things Dwight will be able to do off a dime in the lane more than justify Nash’s rating.

  • LakeShow

    Hard to rank Mr. Nash this year. He is on a team loaded with talent, but we still know he can make any team compete which I don’t think the same could be said for Rudy Gay or even Josh Smith. The same could be said though for Kevin Garnett. I would like for Garnett and Duncan to be a bit higher, but I like Nash in the #20-25 area.

  • Datkid

    not bad. but I disagree.
    Kyle
    kyrieTPWestbrookRondoDwillCP3I would actually flip Cp3 and Dwill and Westbrook and Rondo but I feel like that’s what they’ll pick.

  • Onions Baby Onions

    Completely agree on all points. What people don’t take into account when they compare Nash or Garnett to athletic wings like Josh Smith is that any player with J-Smoove levels of athleticism and a moderately high basketball IQ can drop 25 and look good (even dominant) while doing so. You can pretty much replace Iguoadala, J. Smith, Rudy etc. with one another and their teams would be the same. But Nash’s/Garnett’s/Duncan’s abilities to consistently make their teams competitive speaks to a much rarer quality that is not easily replaced.

  • LakeShow

    So outside of Garnett, whom I agree is slightly better, who is listed that is better than Nash?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I have Nash at #30 in my Off the Top of the Head Top 50 – of the guys who have been listed, i have (in descending order based on my list) – Iguodala, Pierce, MGasol, JSmith, Duncan, Manu, Rose, Garnett as better than Nash this season.
    .
    I won’t argue about Pierce, Iguodala, Duncan, Manu, or Rose though as I see a logical argument that Nash is “better” than all of them.
    .
    I also have 1 player on my list who probably didn’t make the top 50 (Joakim Noah) who I have as better than Nash.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that’s not far off where i have him, i have Nash at 30.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that doesn’t make sense.

  • Rainman

    Should easily be a top 20 player, probably more like 15…

  • Rainman

    And wait…Kyrie is better than Steve Nash?After just one year? Come the fk on Slam…

  • brad09′

    i dont think his defense is top 180 in the league i duno how he deserves a top 30 spot. Granted he does have amazing offensive numbers.

  • Dutch Rich

    The Thunder don’t have a starting point guard IMO. Shave 4 inches off and he might not be in the league. Add 3 and you have one of the best small forwards ever. I’m lumping him with the shooting guards. 6 PG’s out of 20 left is too PG heavy for me. I don’t think we should consider the supposed domination of the PG position that significant.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s pretty easy to see based on the votes in this comment section that the majority of (comment section) readers are Lakers fans.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Well, he was better last season, so…..

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • Datkid

    I can see where you’re coming from but I disagree. RW is explosive, able to run at the speed of light forever, surprisingly strong, an underrated passer, and can separate from a midrange whenever he wants. He might not be as effective being 4 inches smaller, but he’d still be dangerous and still in the league. and w/ a tall “true” pg who can spread the floor w/ his shooting and still handle passing duties like brandon knight for example he’d be very potent.

  • Rainman

    No he wasnt… He will be in the future, but he wasnt last year. 12 on 50-40-90 to go with 10.7 assists, and leada team that had NO business even being in the discussion to being one game away from the postseason (Frye got knocked out with his shoulder injury the last few games) and to a .500 record… Who did he have on his team? Dudley? Gortat? a 40 year old Grant hill? Shannon brown? Kyrie looked good last year, but he isnt nearly as polished offensively as Nash is and is almost as bad of a defender (and u always complain about Nash’s defence so…)

  • Rainman

    Not a Laker fan. But maybe the votes are a product of ppl knowing that u’ve been underrating nash for a long time now. I agree with u on a lot of things (based on ur comments on other articles ive seen), Steve Nash isnt one of them.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i have been underrating Steve Nash for a long time? LOL – i think you are thinking of someone else.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You are right, he wasn’t better, but I could definitely make an argument that he was. He was more productive, and he was more efficient in terms of overall production. — But Irving was actually the worst defensive PG (actually, player) who consistently played in the entire league last season and he wasn’t quite as efficient per possession (even though his PER begs the differ)
    .
    Other than that though, it is you who is underrating the Suns last season. Gortat is one of the best Centers in the league. Grant Hill was productive offensively while being one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Dudley is a 38% 3pt shooter, who is an above average defender that doesn’t make many mistakes. The team is chalk full of solid role players, and they were built around Nash and that system perfectly to maximize their success….and Frye played in 64 games last year, he missed a total of 2.
    .
    I live in Phoenix dude. Knowing the Suns in and out with how much basketball I watch is kind of a given here.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    I don’t think he’s on the level of Felton or Lin, but that doesn’t mean his numbers weren’t partially a product of the system.
    The last time he played in a slowdown style with a decent big man, he struggled. We shall see if he corrected that problem.

  • Rainman

    Maybe. But ur constantly calling Nash overrated from what i recall

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    naw that ain’t me. i only call him overrated when he gets overrated. which isn’t very often anymore. Allen used to be about how overrated Nash was or he got in those conversations on a semi consistent basis a couple years ago tho, that might be what you are thinking of? — Slam had Nash at 20 last year, and I had no issues with it, for example.

  • LakeShow

    True. And true. Although, he only struggled by his own lofty standards not by ordinary PG standards.

  • Rainman

    Big Suns fan here too, but really, Who had them being anywhere in the discussion realistically? (outside of phx) Also take into consideration that they basically played at their level at teh beginning of the season (much below .500 , i forget the actual record) and played ridiculously over their heads in the second half (much above .500, again, forget exxact record). Even Steve Himself said, they kinda overachieved.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I actually had them as the 8 seed last year so I overrated them as a team. I remember being told I was nuts for putting them that high and I apparently was. Barely.
    .

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    *Steven A voice* Th-thi- THIS IS BLASPHEMOUS!!!

  • Rainman

    My bad in that case, man

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Oh no stress at all

  • Ethos

    Lol at anyone taking these lists as science.

  • danpowers

    nice read. i just wonder since when defense became a part of the game not wort being mentioned.

  • TR

    You guys think earl jr will ever make the list

  • Caboose

    I’m sorry, but this is an atrocious ranking. First of all, he’ll probably average around 11-7. There’s no way he puts up anything close to his Phoenix stats in LA’s slow-down, pound it out system. Also, his defense is putrid. I’m talking just a shade above Calderon and Ridnour bad. I’d put him towards the 40′s, but that’s just me.

  • hugo

    wow, i wouldnt have thought the beard wouldve cracked the top 20…

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    I mean he put up like 14 and 8. That is cool not great

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    Rondo should be above Kyrie and TP IMO…hes improved every year since he has been in the league…coming off the best year of his career I don’t see why he would stop improving now

  • Ugh

    I’m also worried about how many fouls Dwight will rack up witH Nash’s man driving to the rack 25 times a game.

  • Caboose

    To all those who disliked this comment, give me a defense of Nash, other than the fact that he’s got 2 MVP’s.

  • Bodhidogma

    great ranking for nash. whats up with all the haters? has nash ever been a fantastic individual defender? no. the man wasn’t blessed with the physical gifts of a russell westbrook or cp3 (don’t bring up stockton – he was an anomaly and a hard nose mofo!). but he is a great team defender, and puts himself in the right positions at the right times. any team in the league would take nash’s defensive liabilities in order to have him running the show at the other end. best shooter, and one of the best passers ever folks. EVER!

  • Caboose

    I can name a bunch of teams who would not trade their PG for Nash. Clippers, Nets, Bulls, Nuggets, Spurs, Sixers, Thunder, Celtics, Wizards, Cavaliers, Wolves, and Warriors.
    How can you say Steve is a good team defender? You can’t just say things without backing them up with facts, bro. Here’s a fact: the Suns haven’t ranked higher than 23rd in Defensive Efficiency in the last 4 years.

  • Caboose

    I think he’ll put up even less than that in LA this year.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “he is a great team defender” – *spits coffee at computer screen and dies laughing*

  • Bodhidogma

    sorry to ruin your computer screen brah. died laughing? doesn’t take much to amuse you i suppose. perhaps i got a little ahead of myself by saying that nash is a “great” team defender. but the fact remains that he is a very intelligent defender. he funnels his man into the right areas on the court, he isn’t afraid to take a charge, and does his best to stay in front of his man. i will admit that nash is also guilty of cheating on defense far too often in an effort to break out in transition. oh well. on the flipside, where are all these amazing pg defenders? and why is nash still lighting them up at age 37?

  • Bodhidogma

    you’re going to blame the suns defensive liabilities entirely on nash? it’s a team game man. does he have shortcoming on the defensive end? no doubt. is he the worst defender in the league? hell no.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Nash is a terrible defender, he led the league in charges once, but that really just veils how truly terrible he has been on that end, i live in Phoenix, I’ve watched just about every Suns game Steve Nash has been apart of, he’s a terrible team defender, & individual defender. He’s smart, but that doesn’t make up for how truly bad he is. – Nash is a top 5 offensive PG, that’s why nobody can guard him. He’s an offensive genius. He just can’t play more than 34MPG max for a season without breaking down, which hurts his value.

  • Bodhidogma

    you’re going to have to explain to me how leading the league in charges is somehow indicative of how bad a defender he is. i am not seeing it. perhaps it is a better indicator of how bad the rest of his teammates are at defending? you’re also going to have to explain to me what makes a good defensive pg? nash is 37! let me repeat this – 37! yet the “defensive” pg’s in the league can’t stop him. what gives?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i didn’t, i said leading the league in charges veiled (Partially conceal, disguise, or obscure) how truly bad he is.
    .
    So do you not understand how defense works? What does Steve Nash’s age have to do with defensive PG’s stopping him? What elite offensive PG is being stopped by any elite defensive PG? When has less athleticism (i’m sure that’s where your going with this age thing) ever kept an elite guard from succeeding against some elite defender/athlete? Ever?
    .
    Think through what you are saying.

  • Bodhidogma

    a rather condescending reply. are you actually suggesting that athleticism doesn’t play a role in being an elite defender? we are talking about the NBA right? you don’t think the fact that rondo is a freak of nature (arm length, speed, vertical leap) has no bearing on him being labeled a great defender? certainly instincts play a role, but dude. c’mon.

    what i am getting at is this: if nash is a poor defender, what exactly constitutes a great defender?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    when i feel people are arguing out of defense, rather than with the intent of making a point i tend to get abrasive.
    .
    You need to stop trying to intertwine everything. Of course Athleticism plays a factor for an elite defensive player. But we aren’t talking about what constitutes what makes an elite defender (at least until you asked that last question), we are talking about why elite defenders can’t stop a 37 year old. Your point about a 37 year old could only revolve around athleticism, so i explained why that was patently illogical. (elite defenders who are superior athletes almost never limit elite offensive players – Steve Nash has been a sub par athlete his whole career, aging isn’t going to change that for better or worse as long as he can still change speeds).
    .
    If you can’t see that Nash is a poor (to put it lightly) defender than i’m just going to assume you don’t actually watch him play. If you do, and you still can’t see that he’s a bad defender, i’m automatically going to assume you don’t know how to interpret what it is you are watching.
    .
    Obviously elite defenders get beat less often by the guy they are guarding then most other defenders. Being better than almost everyone else at your position at defense is what constitutes a great defender.
    - Steve Nash and his 110 defensive rating, 0.6 defensive win shares and penchant for giving up INSANE offensive performances from opposing PGs constitutes a horrible defender.
    .
    Need Proof? It took me one try to find some, http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201204210PHO.html -
    .
    PLEASE NOTE TY LAWSON’S OFFENSIVE RATING OF 165! in that link.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    @disqus_oxoGJMLagc:disqus above average to average defenders on Phoenix’s roster 2011-12 -

    . Jared Dudley (average) – Grant Hill (above average) – Marcin Gortat (above average) – Channing Frye (average) – Markief Morris (average)
    .
    That’s 4 of their 5 starters last season.
    .
    Below Average Defenders on Phoenix’s Roster in 2011-12 -
    . Steve Nash, Shannon Brown, Sebastian Telfair, Hakim Warrick, Michael Redd
    .
    The worst part of the team defense in Phoenix is their offense, the pace they played did not allow them to be a good defensive team. Steve Nash, being the reason the offense was so good, was a huge part of why the defense was so bad. But, the give and take, was ultimately better for the team. — Still though, Nash was a terrible defender who has a terrible overall effect on his teams defense.

  • LakeShow

    I gave it a down vote.
    Gotta get some ish done at work.
    I’ll be bach.

  • LakeShow

    I don’t know where the line is drawn between “cool” and “great”, but 14-8 is a top tier PG. Lower, top tier, but still top tier.
    Nash should be right around 11-10 this year. Just barely a double double average over the season will be my gander.

  • Caboose

    Word.

  • LakeShow

    Steve Nash is the best pick n roll PG in the L. He is going to be playing with the best pick n roll center in the game today.
    In addition to that, he has Pau Gasol on the other post. Gasol can space the floor effectively out to 15 feet. He isn’t one of the best mid range bigs in the game, but he isn’t shabby, and he will knock down the mid range enough to keep defenses honest on him. When Gasol moves to the 5 spot or Howard stays and Gasol goes to the bench, Jamison will come in. That is where Nash will enjoy the Princeton offense at it’s purest with Jamison, a known marksmen, providing the spacing for Nash to tally up assists between Howard alley oops, and Jamison’s deep bomb’s. Nash has not shot lower than 39% from 3 point land since his 2nd year in the L. So that’s unlikely to drop a measurable amount. Nash has posted 10+ assists in 7 of his 8 last seasons. While all were in PHX, with the tempo he plays best with, he still did not have the talented scorers that he now has in LA, so that assist total is unlikely to drop below 9. Bryant is planning to be a shooting guard rather than a scoring guard this season; meaning Nash will benefit from having a top 2 shooting(#1 imo) guard to toss the ball to at any given moment for a quick assist. So what we have is a player that puts up a small double, double, average. Also with the best across the board shooting percentages in the L. He is going to be on a team that will be winning somewhere around 60 games with him being the catalyst at the PG spot.
    Sounds to me like a top 25 NBA talent.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    You are talking like he was a good defender at 25. He wasn’t. I watched him. He sucked for Dallas on defense too. You can’t praise him for doing what he does on offense at his age and then give him a pass for his age on defense. That’s ridiculous. Just accept that he’s horrible on defense and great on offense. It’s just the truth.

  • Caboose

    Ok, I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but I just saw the last line “Top 25 talent.” You know I’m gonna quibble with that; I didn’t say he wasn’t a top 25 talent, I said he won’t be top 25 productivity. Let me read through now.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    That ain’t top tier in my book. 14 and 8 is a very good point guard, not great or top tier. Now, you average 18 and 8 or 20 and 10 and you are top tier. I don’t even know if 14 and 8 gets you to the all-star game.

  • Caboose

    Alright, I’ve got some main complaints. #1: pace. The Suns have ranked in the top 10 in pace for the past decade. The Lakers under Mike Brown were 20th (and 21st the year before that). Additionally, the LA offense simply doesn’t give a point guard the chance to shine. The highest assist total ANY point guard has ever accrued while playing with Kobe is 8.5 (Nick Van Exel in 1996). Finally, even with Steve, Kobe is going to be handling the ball a substantial amount of the time. While this may be good for the Lakers’ offense having Steve space the floor, it doesn’t add anything to his productivity.
    In summary, things that will make Steve’s productivity drop: slower pace, Laker’s offensive scheme, Kobe’s ball-handling ability. And I haven’t even touched on defense.
    But I will say this: Nash is still easily a top 15 offensive -TALENT-. However, you and I both know that’s not what we’re talking about.

  • LakeShow

    So that’s one place where everyone comes to their own assessment.
    What is “projected performance? Is that stats? Is that influence on the game? Is it a mixture, or something different altogether?
    Nash being a top 25 talent puts him in the top 25 in my rankings. It’s about what you are capable of doing not what stats said you did, in my book. His stats may not be as good as a top 25 player, but he is a top 25 player. Especially in the playoffs. Although he has never won a chip he has seen his fair share of playoff games and has played very well in them.
    With that all being said…
    Nick Van Exel has a career average of 6.6 assists. His best season was 9. If he was able to get 8.5 assists next to Mr. Bryant, so i’m sure that one of the greatest passers to ever play basketball can get more than that.
    Kobe may be handling the ball allot, but not as much as before and he is excited for Nash to be doing the majority of the ball handling so Nash will get his touches.
    My guess is 11-10 from Nashty. We will see how that plays out. Those digits along with leading one of the best teams in the L has to get him in the top 25 IMO.
    We may just not be seeing eye to eye on the criteria for “projected performance.”

  • RG190

    “Steve Nash may be the greatest shooter in the
    history of the NBA.” Based on the info shared in the rest of the
    paragraph, he IS the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA. 50/40/90 four…almost FIVE times? Ridiculous.

  • Caboose

    There is no justification for 11-10 and no defense to be top 25 in the NBA. Why? Calderon did that for the Raptors and no one in their right mind puts him in the top 25. You said that “it’s about what you are capable of doing” that determines performance. WHAT?! That’s the exact OPPOSITE of what it means. Otherwise, I’d say that JR Smith is capable of being a top 30 player; he has the talent. I only care about what the guy actually does on the court, and Nash is going to be a solid point guard on offense, and the 2nd worst starting point guard in the league on defense.

  • LakeShow

    So you think that Calderon is a top 50 player then right? Cause you said Nash deserves to be in the 40′s, so Calderon is Top 50 right?
    JR Smith is not capable of being a top 30 player and I might be his biggest fan on this site… That’s just stupid.
    I just agree to disagree We don’t see eye to eye on what constitutes as a Top 25 player int he L.
    I take intangibles and playoff capability into play for projected performance.

  • Caboose

    Ok yeah, my argument was reductio ad absurdum, but it was to illustrate my point: “ability and capability” cannot be considered for “performance.” Those are two fundamentally different things, like just by definition. Explain to me how having the ability to do something is the same as actually doing it.

  • LakeShow

    Nash will not need to put up 15-12 next season for the Lakers to be successful. They actually would probably be less successful with Nash scoring more. They need the ball in Dwight’s hands, Pau’s hands, and Kobe’s hands when it comes to scoring. His team will need him to distribute the ball. He is going to do that. Admirably. So he is going to be the starting PG on a loaded team. Loaded teams usually don’t get to have people reach STATistical goals. It’s team oriented and Nash will do everything within his capabilities to make this team win games which to me is more important than the fact that his STAT’s might not look as pretty as someone else.

  • Caboose

    I agree, Nash will fulfill his role pretty amazingly. Top 5 in the league. But this isn’t about filling roles, otherwise Kawhi Leonard would be top 10 on this list. It’s about performance and production on the court. And you’ve said yourself that Nash will look for team first, neglecting his own personal goals. If that was the criteria, then just put all the Spurs in spots 1-10. C’mon, you’re dancing around a definition when I’ve given you a clear one.

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