NBA Contenders Need to Avoid Steve Nash

Kwame Fisher-JonesContributor IIIMarch 1, 2012

It is standard post All-Star game protocol to discuss and analyze every piece of NBA trade gossip, and while some gossip is rooted in truth, other dialogue tends to stem from delusion. So while time deciphers the real from the fake it is the possibilities we are left to partake on.

Every year at least one top player is traded and every year neither trade participants win the NBA crown, (Rasheed Wallace 2004 trade excluded). In general, midseason trades are great for television but never quite work for the teams, at least not immediately. The adjustment could be the reason for the delayed success at best or the reason for epic failure at worst if the player is not as good as advertised. 

Whether it is Allen Iverson to the Denver Nuggets, Dikembe Mutombo from the Atlanta Hawks or Wilt Chamberlain to the Philadelphia 76ers, midseason trades rarely pay dividends because the players removed/added are damaged goods. Yes there are exceptions but those are not common and you
cannot run a franchise expecting the uncommon.    

This season’s overhyped past-his-prime former stallion is Steve Nash. Much has been made of the Suns' lack of success this year and how Nash would be an invaluable component to a championship team. The problem is he would not.

Few players have ever been as overvalued as Nash. For all his offensive preciseness he has never played in the NBA Finals and his lack of championship series experience is rarely questioned publicly. Now we are being told he, that he alone, is capable of getting some team over the proverbial hump.

The Phoenix Suns leader is one of the best offensive players in NBA history and is a certain Hall of Famer. He was one of the game’s best facilitators and in his prime he was as potent as Jamaican Rum. However today, he is a 38-year-old guard with a bad back who never plays defense.

Nash’s assists are still high (10.9 per), but his turnovers are the second highest they have ever been (3.7 per) and his scoring average (13.9 per) is the lowest it has been since 12 seasons.

Any team that trades for Nash now will be creating a gaping hole in their defense and would need to drastically change or alter their offensive philosophy to accommodate the geriatric guard’s abilities.

The point guard position is one of the hardest positions in professional sports to man and learn. Usually, when you have a good point you are a good team and when you have a great point you have a great team. There was a window when Nash was one of the best in the league and consequently the Phoenix Suns were one of the best teams in the league. However, that time has passed.

Even in Nash’s prime he had insurmountable limitations in his game. Many pundits turned a blind eye to those limitations because of his team's success and his high skill level in other facets of the game. However, those limitations are the driving force behind his perennial absence from the NBA Finals. 

Nash’s lack of defense provided the opposing teams plenty of opportunities to not only get back in games but also to win them. As we sit today the Suns’ point guard is now with eroded skills and even worse defense, but a title-contending team is suppose to take a flyer on the 38-year-old.

There have been reports the Miami Heat were interested in Nash, but Pat Riley and crew have yet to pull the trigger. Could it be that they have issues with a 38-year-old guard with a bad back who plays piss poor defense? This is something every contending team should consider before inquiring about Nash.

The guard’s marksmanship can no longer mask his indefensible lack of defense. This could be a death blow for a championship contender or a team striving for a place among the greats. This is why teams must pass on the known distributor.

Players like Nash who are maestros on one end of the floor and loafers on the other end usually fall short of championship glory. As the NBA trade deadline nears, GMs of championship contenders need to be weary of a player who even at his best was too flawed to win.

Steve Nash was a glorious player but not a champion. If given the keys to a new car he will drive fast and frantic because that is the only way he knows; this formula has proven to be the antithesis of the slow grind necessary to win a title. Regardless of the contender, their interest must remain nothing more than a passing glance on a player whose greatness just was not good enough.