In Defence of: Steve Nash (Part 2)

I mentioned the main groups of Nash critics at the beginning of Part 1. As a refresher, they were Defence Fanatics, Championship Lovers, and Kobe fans.

Now let’s look at their reasons.

Defence Fanatics

These are probably the most reasonable group of Nash critics. They usually admit that Nash is a phenomenal offensive player but maintain that he can’t be considered a superstar/all-time great since he only plays half the game. Now I addressed in part 1 how Nash’s defensive deficiencies are massively exaggerated, especially when it comes to smart team defence. What they don’t accept is that defence really isn’t half the game for point guards. When you consider the numerous ways a point guard can impact a team’s offence compared to defence, i would estimate that defence is about 25% of the game for point guards, and that might be a stretch. Now of that 25%, team defence is more important as explained above, so let’s say 15%. That means that man to man defence is about 10% of the game for point guards. Obviously these numbers are just my opinions, but I think I have given a reasonable explaination as to why I believe this to be the case. So does being poor at 10% of the game make that big of a difference when you are above average at 15% of it and beyond amazing at the remaining 75%? I don’t think so.

(Note: I know that the previous paragraph probably sounds like a whole lot of opinion and very little fact. While this is true, take a look back at the defence section in Part 1, namely take a look at how many poor defensive point guards have started for all time great defensive teams, and how even terrific defensive point guards could do little to make their team elite on that end)

With that said, these critics have a point, I just think it’s blown out of proportion.

On to the next group.

Championship Lovers

The most annoying group in my opinion. Their problem is that they are incapable of distinguishing between individual play/success and team play/success. Here is their standard line.

Steve Nash is so overrated! How can a two time MVP never win a ring? How can he never even play in a finals if he’s so good? (insert a bunch of other meaningless drivel)

This is complete nonsense. Your team winning is not a reflection of your abilities as a player. I wrote about it in a previous post (http://www.fullcourtpest.com/2011/06/dirk-is-great-but-lets-take-it-easy.html). This often comes up in any Kobe vs anyone discussion, where Kobe’s 5 rings are used as some sort of trump card. (Championship Lovers and Kobe fans are often the same people, but not always).

The whole “never played in a finals” line is brought up most often in Kidd/Nash debates. Since they played at roughly the same time, and were both MVP candidates at some point (Nash won 2, Kidd came second in 02), their careers are compared routinely. The main arguments for Kidd are…

1. Defence/rebounding

2. He dragged 2 teams to the finals (and recently won a ring as a role player).

I already addressed how I feel about point guard defence, but I will admit that Kidd does hold a significant edge over Nash in that regard. And rebounding is nice regardless of the position, although once again it’s more important as a center. My big issue is with the second point.

Let’s first assume that the number of rings you own is somehow an indicator of your merits as a player. There then comes the issue that not all championships or finals appearances can be considered equal. To show this, let’s look at the teams Kidd and the Nets beat to make the finals.

2002- Beat the 42 win Pacers 3-2, beat the 44 win Hornets 4-1, beat the 49 win celtics 4-2. Got swept by the 58 win Lakers.

2003- Best the 42 wins Bucks 4-2, beat the 44 win Celtics 4-0, and swept the 50 win Pistons. Lost in 6 to the to win Spurs.

Of those, the only truly impressive victory was sweeping the 50 win Pistons. That Pistons team did win the championship the next year, but they had yet to acquire Rasheed Wallace, and Tayshaun Prince was a rookie who played just 42 games and averaged 10 minutes. So it wasn’t the same team at all. Nevertheless, sweeping a 50 win team is always impressive.

So in those 2 years they beat 6 teams with an average of 45 wins between them, and lost to 2 teams with an average of 59 wins.

Now let’s look at Nash in those same 2 years, and figure out why he never got to meet up with Kidd in the finals.

2002- Beat the 50 win Timberwolves 3-0, lost to 61 win Kings 4-1.

2003- Beat the 50 win Blazers 4-3, beat the 59 win Kings 4-3, lost to the 60 win Spurs 4-2.

So the Mavs beat 3 teams who won an average of 53 games between them, and lost to 2 who won an average of 60.5 games between them.

Now obviously winning/losing isn’t entirely the result of one player’s performance, but lots of championship lovers tend to think this way. Nash’s teams beat significantly tougher teams than Kidd’s did and lost to roughly the same quality of teams the Nets did (they both lost 4-2 to the 2003 Spurs).

Now that’s not fair, Nash had more help those years than Kidd had, no doubt about it. But I won’t deny that Kidd was better than Nash in 2002 and 2003. The whole point of this is to show how team success is related to, but absolutely not equivalent to, individual success.

Now let’s look beyond those 2 years. Let’s look at both of their extended primes, which for Kidd was from about 1995-2006, and for Nash was from about 2001-present. We will compare the opponents they played in each playoff run.

Let’s first look at teams they beat.

Jason Kidd
Steve Nash
2000 Spurs- 53 wins*
2002 Pacers- 42 wins
2002 Hornets- 44 wins
2002 Celtics- 49 wins
2003 Bucks- 42 wins
2003 Celtics- 44 wins
2003 Pistons- 50 wins
2004 Knicks- 39 wins
2001 Jazz- 53 wins
2002 Timberwolves- 50 wins
2003 Blazers- 50 wins
2003 Kings- 59 wins
2005 Grizzlies- 45 wins
2005 Mavericks- 58 wins
2006 Lakers- 45 wins
2006 Clippers- 47 wins
2007 Lakers- 42 wins
2010 Blazers- 50 wins
2010 Spurs- 50 wins
* Were missing Tim Duncan for the whole series. Duncan averaged 23 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and made first team all-nba and first team defence. He might have made a difference.
Now let’s consider the teams they lost to.
Jason Kidd
Steve Nash
1997 Sonics- 57 wins
1998 Spurs- 56 wins
1999 Blazers- 35 wins*
2000 Lakers- 67 wins
2001 Kings- 55 wins
2002 Lakers- 58 wins
2003 Spurs- 50 wins
2004 Pistons- 58 wins
2001 Spurs- 58 wins
2002 Kings- 61 wins
2003 Spurs- 61 wins
2004 Kings- 55 wins
2005 Spurs- 59 wins
2006 Mavericks- 60 wins
2007 Spurs- 58 wins
2008 Spurs- 58 wins
2010 Lakers- 57 wins

* Denotes Lockout season. Blazers went 35-15, which is a winning percentage equivalent to 57 wins in a full length season.

So Kidd didn’t beat a single team that won more than 50 games other than the 2000 Spurs who won 53 but were missing the 2nd best player in the league. Every other time they played a team that won more than 50 games they lost, counting the Blazers lockout year it works out to a 0-7 record vs teams that won more than 50 games. So what was Kidd doing that was so special? He was beating up on 44 win teams to make the finals in the weakest conference in history, while Nash was stuck in the juggernaut Western Conference.

Nash beat 7 teams that won 50 or more games to Kidd’s 1 (once again, Duncanless Spurs don’t count). As for his losses, he lost to the eventual champion 4 times, same number as Kidd (Note that Nash also lost to the (probable) rightful champion 2002 Kings, and the (possible) champion 2006 Mavericks. The Kings deserved to beat the Lakers but the refs screwed them. The Mavs got screwed by the refs but also screwed themselves over). Nash lost to the runner up one time (Kidd 0), a conference finalist 3 times (2 for Kidd), and a team that made the 2nd round only once (Kidd had 3).

So clearly Nash beat tougher teams and lost to better teams than Kidd did. Why? Because he played in a tougher conference. Other than that previously mentioned win against the Duncanless Spurs, Kidd couldn’t win a playoff series until he went East, losing in the first round in ’97, ’98, ’99, and 2001, and once again I am supremely confident they would have lost in 2000 given Duncan’s reputation for kicking ass in the playoffs.

Even giving them that win, Kidd went 1-7 vs the west. Nash went 11-9.

Now here’s the important part…. NONE OF THAT MATTERS! At all. Just because Nash beat better teams does not make him the better player. Winning a series generally depends on about 8 players on each team, the coaches, and, sadly, the refs (cough 2002 cough). But for all those people who try to say Kidd was better than Nash because of team success, Kidd had the easy road to the finals.

Now I’m not going to give Nash too much credit for the teams they beat, and I also won’t give him too much blame for the times they lost. So who am I going to blame. There are 2 people in particular.

Tim Duncan, and Robert Sarver. Let’s talk about Duncan first.

Duncan beat the crap out of the Suns, they couldn’t stop him. They threw double teams at him, he still scored or found open teammates. He anchored the defence and kept the Suns away from the rim. He bullied them on the boards. The Suns had no answer. The Spurs beat Nash’s team in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2008. Three of those times they went on to win the title, the other 2 times they made the conference finals. Am I going to blame Nash because Dirk and Amare couldn’t handle Duncan? Of course not. I’m not blaming Nash, I’m crediting Duncan, who is one of the greatest players to ever play, and a far better player overall then Nash. Nash was beat by a superior player, with superior teammates, with a superior coach, and, here’s maybe the most important part, a much much much much better organization.

What am I referring to? Well it brings me back to Robert Sarver. He’s the Suns owner for anyone who doesn’t know, and he is more responsible for Nash’s failure to win a ring than anyone.

Let me present the fine management the Suns have enjoyed since acquiring Nash.

2005- Nash arrives and changes the whole dynamic of the team. They surround him with an inside scorer in Amare, a versatile wing player in Marion, a secondary playmaker/shooter in Joe Johnson, and other top of the line 3 point shooters. Who cares that they were pretty poor defensively, they couldn’t be stopped. It worked to the tune of 62 wins. They lost in the conference finals to the eventual champion Spurs, partly because Duncan kicked the shit out of them, and partly because Joe Johnson fractured his eye socket in the previous round. So after this exceedingly successful season, what does management do? They piss of Joe Johnson so much that he asks them not to match the 70 million dollar offer sheet from Atlanta (Johnson shot 48% from 3 that year, scored 17 points per game, led the team in minutes per game, and handled the ball when Nash needed a break. I would never give him up.) He leaves, management trades Quentin Richardson (15 points and 3 threes per game) to New York along with a future pick for Kurt Thomas.

2006- The Suns lose Amare for the season (plays 3 games). Even though they lost their only inside (and best) scorer, their best shooter other than Nash (Johnson), and one of their better 3pt bombers (Richardson), they still win 54 games. They lost to Dallas in 6 games in the conference finals. Give them Joe Johnson that year, and I think they win the ring. So what were management’s brilliant moves for this summer to build off another successful year? They traded the number 21 pick(which they had acquired in 2004 by trading their number 7 pick to save money) along with Brian Grant to Boston for Cleveland’s 2007 number one in a straight salary dump (Cleveland’s pick was bound to be junk as Cleveland was improving every year). Then they sold the number 27 pick that year to Portland. And the best part, after trading those 2 first round picks to dump salary, they gave Marcus Banks a 4 year 24 million dollar deal. Marcus Banks! I watched him in Phoenix, he sucked. I watched him in Toronto, he still sucked. How was Marcus Banks ever worth 6 million a year? Then they gave Boris Diaw a 5 year 45 million dollar deal. This deal made sense since Diaw had played well for them that year (13 7 and 6 with solid defence), but made no sense since there and there was no telling how Diaw would perform with Amare back in the line-up. (Diaw’s numbers dropped to 10 4 and 5, not exactly worthy of 9 million a year). So they gave 69 million to Banks and Diaw instead of giving 70 million to Joe Johnson. Smart move.

 

2007- Won 61 games, lost in conference semis to eventual champion Spurs on the controversial Stoudemire/Diaw suspensions. After the season they traded the number 24 pick (Rudy Fernandez) to Portland for 3 million. They traded Kurt Thomas to Seattle along with 2 first rounders (2008, 2010) just to clear him off the cap! So they traded away the number 7 pick in 2004 for the number 21 pick two years later so that they could sign Richardson who they traded to New York for Thomas who they ended up having to give up two first rounders to get off their cap. Aren’t GM’s brilliant?

2008- Traded Shawn Marion for Shaq mid-season, with the plan being to get bigger to stop Duncan from mercilessly destroying them every spring. Never mind that it lost them their run and gun small ball identity that had been winning them 60+ games, just throw away your best defender for an old fat man who still can’t guard Duncan. The only thing that made this trade somewhat defensible was that Marion was clearly unhappy in Phoenix.

2010- After an impressive playoff run (eventually losing in 6 to the eventual champion Lakers featuring Kobe playing one of his best series ever), Sarver decides not to resign Amare. The issue was that they were not willing to guarantee 100+ million dollars to a big man with a history of injuries, especially since with an aging Nash they were looking at a potential rebuilding stage in the near future. As much as I would like to criticize this move I can see their logic.

Obviously any organization makes mistakes, but few are so blatantly cheap, especially when they are clearly contenders. Most organizations are willing to shell out a few extra bucks to put their team over the top, not the Suns. They traded away numerous picks with no reason other than “Sorry guys, our owner would rather have 3 million bucks”. That number 7 pick in 2004? The consensus pick was Luol Deng. Give them a line up of Nash, Marion, Stoudemire, Johnson, and Deng, and that team wins multiple championships, and approaches 70 wins most years, I am convinced. They wouldn’t even need a competent bench, since its not hard to find a couple guys to shoot wide open threes.

And this is why I blame Robert Sarver. His cheapness not only prevented his already very talented team from improving, it actually made them worse. They were the most talented team in the NBA in 2005, and lost a little bit of it every year. Give Nash a competent owner/organization, and his career looks much different, and all his haters shut up.

Except for this group…

Kobe Fans

As I mentioned these are often also “championship lovers”, but Kobe fans hate on Nash for different reasons. We can get into the whole argument about selfishness or defence or what not, but from what I’ve found most people just have a problem with the results of the 2006 MVP vote. The hate cooled down a little bit once Kobe won an MVP in 2008, but it didn’t die. They still feel Kobe was robbed by Nash. Nevermind that Kobe came 4th in the voting, behind both Lebron and Dirk, it was just Nash who robbed him. All in all, they feel that Kobe Bryant has always been a better player than Steve Nash, and that it is just incorrect that he has only 1 MVP, and that it is a travesty that Nash has 2. They are right in a sense. Kobe did not deserve 1 MVP. He deserved 0. Chris Paul was the MVP in 2008. But this isn’t a Kobe article, or a Paul article, so I won’t focus on that. I’ll focus on the other part. And I agree with Kobe fans, Nash did not deserve 2 MVPs.

He deserved 3.

Now this idea sounds ridiculous to some, but let’s look at Nash from 2005-2007.

Year
Points
Assists
FG%
3pt%
PER
Team Wins
Best 4 teammates
2005
15.5
11.5
50.20%
43.10%
22
62
Amare, Marion, Johnson, Richardson
2006
18.8
10.5
51.20%
43.90%
23.3
54
Marion, Bell, Diaw, Barbosa
2007
18.6
11.6
53.20%
45.50%
23.8
61
Amare, Marion, Barbosa, Diaw

Now from a numbers standpoint, his 2007 season is by far the most impressive. As was mentioned in the shooting section it’s one of the greatest shooting seasons of all time. From a team standpoint, it’s more impressive than his 05 season, since he won only 1 fewer game with a worse supporting cast. However, people strangely tend to think one of the following.

Nash deserved 0 MVPs. Shaq deserved it in 05, either Kobe or Lebron deserved it in 06, and Dirk deserved
it in 07.

Nash deserved the MVP in 2005 only.

Nash deserved 2 MVPs, either 05 and 06, or 06 and 07.

Most people seem to understand Nash getting the MVP in 2005. He went to a Phoenix team where the only significant roster change was Marbury leaving, and he sparked a 33 game turnaround. A good number feel he should have won it in 2007, but agree with him not getting it because he won undeservedly in 06. Now I think he should have won all three, but if I have to rank the seasons, it would be, from most deserved to least.

2006

2007

2005

Which is of course the opposite of the general opinion. So let’s break it down, starting with…

2005

He averaged essentially 16 and 12, shot 50/43/88 for a 62 win team, a ridiculous 33 more wins than the year before. He was the motor behind their offense, boosting them from the 21st placed offense in 2004 to the best offense that season, while helping his teammates flourish like never before (see The Nash Effect section in Patrt 1). His only serious competition that year was Shaq, who averaged 23 and 10 with 60% shooting and 2 blocks for a 59 win Heat team. Pretty impressive for sure. The Heat improved by 17 wins from the previous season, a rather substantial jump. But how much of that was due to the Big Shaqtus? The 04 team had a rookie Dwyane Wade, who averaged 16 4 4.5 on 46.5% shooting. The 05 team had a much improved Wade, as he averaged a 24 5 7 on 48% shooting, near MVP level numbers for him. Does gaining Shaq, losing Lamar Odom and Caron Butler (9ppg that year), seeing a massive improvement from Wade, and only gaining 17 wins compare at all to replacing Marbury with Nash and jumping 33 wins? I don’t really think it does, especially when you consider that the Heat played in a weaker conference. I’m not trying to belittle Shaq, he was extremely important to that team. However, while Nash’s numbers may have not quite matched Shaq’s, his impact on the team certainly did. I give it to Nash, but this is clearly the closest of his 3 MVPs (I know he only received 2, we’re getting to that).

Note. For anyone who points out that Amare was injured in 05 (played only 55 games) it should be pointed out that even when he did play they had a winning percentage that equated to 33 wins over an 82 game season, so the “Amare was injured” argument holds little merit.

Next case.

2007

 

His numbers were incredible. Nearly 19 points and 12 assists, 53% shooting from the field, 46% from 3 (on a staggering 4.5 attempts per game), 90% from the line, lead the league in TS% etc. His best statistical season by any measure. Either by raw numbers, or advanced stats (careers best PER, TS%, EFG%, ORTG, and Win Shares), this season crushes them all. But it’s not all about stats, so let’s look at his impact.

His team won 61 games. Amare was back and averaged 20/10 on 58% shooting. Barbosa averaged 18/3/4 and shot 48%. Marion went for 18/10 and shot 52%. Bell and Diaw were also solid role players.

The other 4 candidates for the MVP were Dirk (who won), Kobe (3rd), Duncan (4th), and Lebron (5th). Let’s look at them now.

Dirk- 25 9 3, 50/42/90, 67 wins

Kobe- 32 6 5, 1.4 steals, 46/34/87, 42 wins

Duncan- 20 11 3, 2.4 blocks, 54% shooting, 58 wins

Lebron- 27 7 6, 1.6 steals, 48/32/70, 50 wins.

Obviously these numbers paint a pretty poor picture, as basic stats can’t to a great job of describing a player’s MVP case, but we can draw some conclusions from them.

Firstly, Kobe doesn’t belong. He had a worse season than the year before, and while I don’t feel an MVP has to lead a team to 60+ wins or anything, winning only 42 games is only acceptable if your supporting cast is just terrible beyond belief, and I don’t feel Kobe’s was. He’s out.

Duncan is more interesting. He had a fantastic season, his numbers don’t even begin to describe his impact on the defensive end, as they finished the season ranked second defensively. He had a case.

Lebron certainly fit the definition of the word valuable, as he dragged a pretty horrible team to 50 wins (and eventually a place in the finals, but MVP is only for the regular season), but his numbers don’t even match up to Nash’s when you consider Nash’s all time great shooting season. So Lebron is out.

Dirk won the award, because his team won 67 games in a loaded Western conference. He had a good bit of offensive help from Josh Howard and Jason Terry among others, but there was a reason the Mavs were ranked 5th defensively and the Suns 13th, and it had very little to do with Dirk. It was that the Mavs had a quality defensive center (Dampier), while the Suns were playing the undersized and lazy Amare Stoudemire there. So do I give Dirk credit for having a quality defender backing him up? I don’t think that makes sense. I’m not saying Dirk didn’t have a case, I just think he got too much credit for his team’s wins.

So the 3 real candidates are Nash, Dirk, and Duncan. Duncan had arguably the best coach in the league, two fantastic offensive players in Parker and Ginobili, and another defensive stud in Bruce Bowen and other quality role players, and yet he won fewer games with less impressive numbers. Sorry, I love Duncan’s game, but he was not more valuable than Nash that year. So it’s Nash and Dirk.

They won a similar number of games and came 1-2 in the standings. Their numbers were close with a slight advantage going to Nash. It’s a little close to call from just this information, let’s look at the voting totals.

Dirk- 1138 points

Nash- 1013 points

So it was very lose. Now there’s a historical precedent here. People want new MVP’s. There’s a reason Jordan didn’t win in 1993, or 1997. There’s a reason Kareem didn’t win in 1973. It’s the reason why Lebron wouldn’t have won this year even if he stayed in Cleveland (hypothetical I know, but barring another otherwordly season I think it would have happened). Writers get bored of voting for the same player over and over.

They also have a sentimental side. They love voting for players who have never won before, but who have beenelite for a long time. This is why Kobe won in 08, why Erving won in 81, why Malone won in 97. There are many examples.

Now both of these factors are present here. Dirk had been a candidate for a while, never the top candidate, but a candidate nonetheless. His career was winding down (or so many people thought), he was a sentimental pick (although he still had MVP credentials). Nash was a 2 time winner, writers were tired of voting for him. However, in this case it was even worse. Not only was Nash a 2 time winner, he was a back to back winner. The only other people to win 3 straight? Bird, Russell, and Wilt. People were in an uproar, they just couldn’t give Nash the MVP if it meant joining this elite group. The fact that he came so darn close despite these factors shows that he was deserving. I don’t think Dirk has a valid argument here.

Now for the most debated of them all, let’s look at 2006. The most contested MVP of the 3, and in my opinion the most deserved.

First, let’s look at the voting.

Nash- 924 points

Lebron- 688 points

Dirk- 544 points

Kobe- 483 points

So it wasn’t exactly close, not a blowout either, but not close. I could show the numbers (and I will), but here is all you need to know to understand why Nash deserved this MVP. In 2005 his team won 62 games. Their top 5 scorers were Amare (26 ppg), Marion (19.4 ppg), Joe Johnson (17.1 ppg), Nash (15.5 ppg), and Quentin Richardson (14.9 ppg). No one else averaged more than 9 points. Their top 4 rebounders were Marion (11.3), Amare (8.9), Richardson (6.1) and Johnson (5.1). That summer, Johnson was sent to Atlanta for Boris Diaw (who played a mere 18 mpg for a 13 win team that year) and draft picks. Diaw was a throw in. Quentin Richardson was traded to New York for Kurt Thomas.

So in 2006, Phoenix was playing without 3 of its top 5 scorers from the previous year, and 3 of its top 4 rebounders. It replaced them with Kurt Thomas (solid), Bell (also solid), and Diaw (a trade throw in). This was their effort to replace a guy who had averaged 26 and 9 the year before and who came 9th in MVP voting (Amare), a player who averaged 17 points while shooting 48% from 3 (on 4.5 attempts) and handling the secondary playmaking duties (Johnson), and a guy who averaged 15 points and made 3 threes a game (Richardson). People were talking about the team being mediocre, a number of analysts had them missing the playoffs. So what did they do? They won 54 games in a stacked western conference (two 60+ win teams, only one under 33 wins). The Suns won 54 games and 3 of their top 5 players were named Barbosa, Bell, and Boris freakin’ Diaw. This is a Billy Beane “Moneyball” situation, except the success wasn’t due to some brand new management style, it was because one of the guys they kept was worth more than anyone knew. How can anyone say Nash wasn’t the most valuable?

Well they still do, so I’ll go further. Let’s look at some numbers.

Lebron clearly has the best numbers. They are just astounding. However, one must remember that the Cavs system isn’t predicated on ball movement like the Suns and Mavs were, it was all about giving Lebron the ball, spacing the floor, and either letting him isolate or give him a screen. In this way, the system presented Lebron with the perfect opportunity to pile up numbers. I’m not saying he didn’t play great, he did, but when you consider the system, and also the that the East was noticeably weaker than the West, the numbers combined with the team success don’t put him over Nash for me, who had great numbers (look at that TS%!) and had a tremendous impact on his team in a tougher conference. However, I would put Lebron second if I were doing an MVP ballot that year. Dirk was great, as usual, but he won only 6 more games than Nash with a noticeably stronger supporting cast. His numbers are also weaker in my opinions, as 9 rebounds in 38 minutes is average at best, and his 8 more points per game do not make up for Nash’s better percentages and domination when it comes to assists. Nash wins.

Now for Kobe… the enigma. Oddly enough this is the main guy who people insist deserved it more than Nash, nevermind that he came 4th. Let’s look at Kobe’s year.

He scored. And scored. And scored some more after that. The highest ppg average in almost 20 years. Did I mention he scored a lot? He had an 81 point game. He scored 62 in 3 quarters once. He was simply a scoring machine.

And that’s the problem. That’s all he really did that year. Anyone who watched him that year knew he wasn’t committed to defence, his only priority was scoring. Now to be fair, his team needed him to score, and to score lots. However, I cannot say Kobe was more valuable than Nash when Nash had over twice as many assists despite Bryant dominating the ball that year, scored far more efficiently, and grabbed only 1 less rebound despite being 4 inches shorter, not nearly as athletic, and a point guard.

Now Kobe fans can’t accept this, because Kobe apparently had a historic scoring season. But was it really that historic? Could Lebron have averaged 35 that year instead of 31 if he had tried to score instead of averaging 2 extra dimes and didn’t put as much energy into rebounding? I think so. There are several players capable of becoming volume scorers, but there was only one player who could do what Nash did with Phoenix that year. Nash was the MVP, it wasn’t close.

Once again recall that writers tend to vote for new MVPs. Nash winning back to back would put him amongstthe ranks of Russell, Chamberlain, Kareem, Moses, Bird, Magic, Jordan, and Duncan as the only consecutive winners. And yet he still finished with more first place votes (57) than Dirk, Kobe, and Lebron combined (52).

The funny part about Nash’s MVP saga is that you cannot possibly argue that he deserved neither the 05 nor the 06 MVP. The only reason not to give it to him in 05 was that he had a very talented team, which is true, even though that team won only 29 games the year before. However, when the talent left or got injured, , they were still extremely successful the next year. The only 2 players who started for both teams were Nash and Marion, and you would have to be a fool to think Marion was anywhere near as important as Nash.

So I think we’ve got all the bases covered. I could recount my points, but that could take awhile. The point of this article is not to make a definitive statement about Nash’s career. I’m not going to say he’s a top 10 player, I’m not going to call him the greatest point guard, I’m not going to do anything like that. What I wanted to do was do my best to solve every debate involving Nash. While obviously that’s impossible, I think the statistical evidence I’ve presented makes for a fairly decent defense against any criticisms he has received in his career. He’s not perfect, no one is, but he is pretty damn amazing, you have to give him that.

 

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
In Defence of: Steve Nash (Part 2), 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

This entry was posted in In Defence Of, Phoenix Suns, Steve Nash and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to In Defence of: Steve Nash (Part 2)

  1. Patrick says:

    Dude, this was awesome. Great job! Right more stuff! (I’m a huge Nash fan but even if I wasn’t your complete well stated arguement would of convinced me)

    VA:F [1.9.20_1166]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    VA:F [1.9.20_1166]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>