The argument that LeBron James will retire as the “greatest of all time” (G.O.A.T.) falls on deaf ears for many reasons. Even though many of those reasons are affluent solely as a product of his doing, a lot of them are unmerited. James is not a Michael Jordan type of player.
As more of a point-forward than a shooting guard, James influences the pace of the offense by not only creating his own shot, but getting clean looks up and down the court for his teammates. James is not an average player. But, once again, he is no Michael Jordan. Could Steve Nash be the man to change that?
As reported on the Dan Patrick Show, Nash said he was not going to come back to the Phoenix Suns unless there was improvement. When asked about possibly playing with LeBron James and the Miami Heat, he had noting but glowing things to say about the team and James. He said that he would "definitely listen" if an offer was extended to him from the Heat.
Watching the Miami Heat play through their best games, you can see James at work as the team’s best facilitator. Most superstars in the league have the opportunity and skill set to distribute, but no one in the league can keep the pace up while pushing the ball like James can.
The fact that he is unselfish only illuminates his game. James has improved greatly over the seasons and has given up the hope that his three-pointer will be as game-persuasive as some of the better shooters in the league. James’ strongest suit is not beyond the arc, but planted right in front of the rim.
However, sometimes James shies away from his role as Miami’s leading man to make sure the men around him function at the level of their potential.
With Steve Nash, all of that could change. LeBron James would no longer be the primary facilitator for Miami. Nash, one of the league’s most efficient and effective guards in the league, could do nothing but propel James’ game to new heights. He has never played with a pro of Nash’s quality before.
In Cleveland, he had Mo Williams and now in Miami, he has Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole to attribute dishing responsibilities.
2011 – Steve Nash: 12.9 PTS, 3.1 REB, 11.2 AST
2011 – Mario Chalmers: 9.9 PTS, 2.7 REB, 3.5 AST
2011 – Norris Cole: 7.1 PTS, 1.5 REB, 2.2 AST
As Miami’s offensive coordinator, James is having an MVP season. He does not rely on Chalmers or Cole to set the tone of the game or push the speed in transition because neither of them can operate the offense like he can.
Nash, on the other hand, who would undoubtedly swipe the starting point position from the both of these young men, would have the offense flowing on his terms. Nash is no stranger to speed and even in his older age, can keep up with the younger and supposed more agile guards on the court.
More times than not, Miami finds itself mismatched with squads that have elite guards. James could do as much as he could as Miami’s point-forward, but without an elite guard, the Heat are always going to be at a disadvantage.
Steve Nash may not be the league’s greatest point guard, but next to Jason Kidd, he has the greatest form of leadership to provide a team that has yet to reach their championship stride. Not to say that the Heat cannot reach a winning series in the NBA Finals this year without him, but if they can pitch him a roster spot in this summer’s free agency, they cannot pass up that opportunity.
It would only improve their most essential player’s chances to heighten his legacy and prolong Miami’s chances of being great in the playoffs, when everything truly matters.
LeBron James would be so focused on his own offense that he could be a fire-bomb. Nash finds the perfect gaps for passing lanes and the connection between him and James would be harmonious. LeBron would have no option other than to be great. Nash’s abilities would force him to.
James could not shy away from the spotlight. There would be no more hiding behind being the non-selfish player that he loves to be at times. He would be about himself because there would be another player on the floor with the equivalent ability to influence the game’s direction.
LeBron could be effortlessly selfish. LeBron could be the dog that everyone wants him to be. LeBron could be MJ’s true heir. Whether you want to hear it or not, LeBron has the raw skill to be the greatest player in the game.
Steve Nash could turn the tides of history by playing alongside him.