Not even Daylight Savings Time can save the Phoenix Suns. The clock has expired on Steve Nash and his Suns are no longer viable contenders for an NBA championship this season, or any other season. Their window of opportunity is complete shut and not even the herculian hands of Shaquille O’Neal and Amare Stoudemire can pry it open.
Father Time has caught up with Nash. He’ll be 34 in February and does not have the same burst he once had to dribble past defenders and his once-potent shot is beginning to come up short. His defense, not a known strength by any means, has gotten worse. He allows more and more guards to blow past him like a turnstile at Disneyland. But the most alarming deficiency is his increasing penchant to turn the ball over. His decision-making is questionable at best and he longer commands the same type of attention from opposing defenses. Steve Nash has become a poor man’s Steve Blake!
I have never been a big fan of Nash’s game. He could never get the Dallas Mavericks past the conference finals in 2003 and he failed twice to lead the Suns past the conference finals in 2005 and 2006. It was an absolute travesty that he won a second regular-season MVP award in 2006. That was was the same season Kobe Bryant averaged 35 points a game and scored 81 POINTS against the Toronto Raptors in what proved to be the defining moment of the season. Nash is the only two-time MVP winner never to play in the NBA Finals. At least his BFF, Dirk Nowitzki, got a sniff of the Finals in 2006.
Most so-called basketball experts reasoned that they voted for Nash as MVP because of how he “made his teammates better.” If that was the definitive criteria then John Stockton should have won MVP multiple times during the 1990s. A good point guard is supposed to make his teammates better. A PG handles the ball 80% of the time and initiates the offense. If we start handing MVPs to point guards, then John Stockton should have won it every year.
At his peak, Nash was a good-to-above-average point guard. He’s an All-Star player, no doubt, and will go down in NBA history as the best player to come out of Canada. Of course it’s easy to be Canada’s No. 1 baller when the competition includes Leo Rautins and Bill Wennington. All kidding aside, I consider Nash as one of the 10 best PGs in the Association. But the best PG? I rate Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups ahead of him. Now that he’s on the down side of his career, Nash’s chances of winning a championship ring are slim and none. The only way he becomes an NBA champion is if he latches onto a contender.