Steve Nash RumorsAll NBA Players
Height: 6-3 / 1.91
Weight:195 lbs. / 88.5 kg.
Height: 6-3 / 1.91
Weight:195 lbs. / 88.5 kg.
A player averaging 18 PPG for the league’s slowest team in 2003-04, the Portland Trail Blazers, would have jumped to 19.5 per night for the 2004-05 Suns, given the same role and efficiency as a scorer. Add Nash’s distribution, and bigger leaps were possible. Stoudemire went from scoring 20.6 PPG in 2003-04, his second NBA season, to 26.0 while playing fewer minutes after Nash’s arrival. “That’s why it really fries my ass when people out there — and even players in the league — said, ‘I don’t know that Steve Nash should’ve been MVP,'” says Gentry, who was a Suns assistant coach when Nash signed with Phoenix. “He joined a team that was pretty much exactly the same. We added him and Quentin Richardson. We went from 29 wins to 62 wins.”
“I think things are cyclical, but it is hard to envision because the game’s better, it’s more exciting, it’s faster, it’s more skill and athleticism,” says Nash. “The game is aesthetically great, financially great, and the rules aren’t going change because of those by-products. So where are we going to develop one-on-one low post players? So we’ll see fewer and fewer kids with the skills to play in the post, which is only going to further deepen the need to play the way the game’s played now.”
As great as Nash was during their four seasons together, winning a pair of MVPs and twice taking the Suns to the West finals, D’Antoni believes he could have been more dominant if he hadn’t been so determined to be a traditional point guard. “Oh, without a doubt, I screwed that up,” D’Antoni said. “Nash was a purist. Steve’s a Hall of Fame point guard. He was unbelievably good. I just think instead of averaging 15 or 16 [points], he could have averaged 30 for us. He was that good of a shooter, and I don’t think it would have screwed the team up.”
“We know better now,” Nash said. “The math’s been validated, and I think that’s why point guards are so aggressive. It makes sense. We stuck to our traditional values, and that allowed me to stick to my personality, whereas I should have come further and further out of my personality. Yeah, I should have probably shot the ball 20 times a game. It probably would have made a lot more sense, but at the time, we weren’t ready for that league-wide. Everyone was telling us that you can’t win shooting all those 3s, and now we realize that we didn’t shoot enough, especially when we were playing small. So, yeah, I think Mike’s right. I regret it, too. But it really wasn’t my personality and the culture of the game wasn’t ready for that. So it was like a bridge too far, so to speak, at the time.”
What if Young – who indeed has the same slight build, light skin tone, limitless shooting range and seemingly magical abilities with the basketball as Curry – actually patterns his game after a different, yet equally dynamic player who also once won consecutive MVP awards? “Steve Nash is my favorite player of all time,’’ Young said when talking about his basketball influences. “With his size and my size, we’re very similar. He’s very cerebral, he can score from all three levels, he knows how to get his teammates involved and he’s a winner. I feel like a lot of his characteristics are similar to mine.
It’s telling that even in a world where everyone wants to slow down Harden, he can drive around a Capela screen against the majority of opponents and waltz all the way to the rim. You may think of Capela as a sort of decoy in those scenarios. You would be wrong. “Decoy, in a sense of if they take him away, then he’s a decoy,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “But if they don’t take him away, no, he’s a main thrust of what we do. He has the ability to be able to put pressure on the rim with lobs and bounce passes and finishes. Sucks the defense in—that gives our three-point shooters shots. He makes our offense go.” […] “Steve Nash had Amar’e and John Stockton had Malone,” D’Antoni said. “You know, you can’t have one without the other.”
So Houston D’Antoni doesn’t carry the burdens Phoenix D’Antoni once did. He doesn’t need to prove anything. He just needs to win, even if it means bending to the skills of his current stars. Which, Nash says, is not so different from what D’Antoni did back in Phoenix—maximizing the gifts of Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion. “I think it’s just Mike’s ability to read his team, the evolution of the game, the pieces that he has and how they fit together,” Nash says. “So in some ways, I’m not surprised. That’s part of Mike’s brilliance, is his ability to adapt and adjust and tweak, according to who he has and how the pieces fit together.” Nash adds, “I think Mike at this point just wants to win. I don’t think he really cares too much about the past.”