If there was any doubt about Steve Nash’s ability to get his teammates involved, one has to look no further than the game where the Phoenix Suns defeated the Detroit Pistons in a 107-97 Victory over the Detroit Pistons where Nash dished out 21 assists while scoring 15 to put the Suns back on track after all the trade talk distractions.
Many have been critical of Nash’s play this season for his less than stellar performance of 14 points and 10 assist average while shooting around 48 percent from the field. At this point it is pretty clear that Mike D’Antoni was the more critical element in the “seven-seconds-or-less” offense system more than Nash. After Mike D left for New York, Nash’s numbers are back down to what they were when he was playing for Dallas while Chris Duhon in New York is playing like the Steve Nash of old.
Contrary to many who thinks Nash is not as effective as he used to be, he is far from hanging up his boots just yet. Steve Nash is still capable of making accurate passes as well as making clutch shots when he is called upon.
Does he deserve a call-up for the All-Star game in Phoenix while competition for the guard spots is fierce in the West, maybe not but would the GMs around the league want Nash as their starting point guard besides New Orleans and Utah, the answer is a definite yes.
Although Nash admitted at one time that the Suns are no longer a playoff team this season, it is premature to say that the Suns are completely out of the playoff picture if they play like this until the end of the season. It is a matter of finding the right balance which is made harder by the Suns management stating that they are willing to trade everyone on the roster besides Nash as they will not be able to maintain any kind of momentum with all the potential roster changes.
The only way the Suns can feel good about making the playoffs fighting for the eight spots from nine very strong teams in the West is if Nash gets to call the plays like he did when Mike D was still in charge. Terry Porter acting on Steve Kerr’s edict is the kind of coach who must slow the Suns style of play in order to put more emphasis on defense.
Granted, defense wins championships but it will not work if the players on the team do not do that well. Phoenix is at its best when Nash passes the ball to an open shooter knocking the shot down in under seven seconds of every play.
Nash will still have two shots at the championship ring in Phoenix before his contract expires in 2010 when he will very surely head to Toronto or New York for his very last run. Nash is still able to play like an MVP and the Suns will need to give him more freedom on the offensive end because this man clearly still knows a thing or two about winning basketball games even at the age of 35.
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