NBA Free Agents 2012: 5 Careers Steve Nash Could Save Single-Handedly
Steve Nash is up for grabs during free agency and—assuming that his loyalty doesn't force a return to the Phoenix Suns—he'll be one of the biggest difference-makers on the market.
While Nash is talented enough as a point guard to single-handedly alter the fortunes of a team, this article looks at five players whose careers he could most easily help save.
All five have been fantastic at various points during their careers. They all just need one more piece if they're going to be able to create/continue/finish out their legacies in the manner that they most desire.
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With five rings already in his possession, Kobe Bryant doesn't exactly need help "saving" his career, per se.
However, the denouement of his storied time in the NBA could use a bit of saving, because it doesn't look too promising at the moment.
Kobe is only getting older. And as the miles start to pile up, his athleticism will continue to decline. The shooting guard has added new, insanely difficult shots to his repertoire, but eventually he'll need a bit of help in carrying the offense.
He can't possibly maintain a sky-high usage rate and expect to win the sixth title he so desperately craves.
In Kobe's mind, retiring without a ring to start the collection on a second hand would be a failure.
Steve Nash on the Los Angeles Lakers would at least give the team a shot at competing for another championship. His passing is good enough that he could kick-start the stagnant Lakers offense when the Black Mamba doesn't have the ball in his hands.
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Danny Granger is the best player on the Indiana Pacers, and that's the problem for Larry Bird's team right now.
The small forward is an incredible player, particularly when he's lighting up the scoreboard with one dagger after another from downtown. But he's not a superstar capable of carrying a team by himself.
Indiana has a well-balanced squad with a bevy of quality players on it, but the Pacers are lacking that one special piece who can make it all come together. Find that piece, and a championship could possibly be in store.
Darren Collison isn't the answer at point guard and would be much better suited for coming off the bench as a sixth man.
Steve Nash, though, could help take the pressure off Granger while running the show for Indy. The only problem is that his lack of defense doesn't fit in well with the gritty, tough mindset of the Pacers.
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The expectations for LeBron James are currently so high that every season in which he doesn't win a title is going to be considered a complete and utter failure.
Let me run a potential lineup by you and see if you can possibly claim that it wouldn't make winning a ring much easier.
Point Guard: Steve Nash
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade
Small Forward: LeBron James
Power Forward: Chris Bosh
Center: Who Cares
I can hear the "undefeated" talk beginning now.
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When Joe Johnson signed his exorbitant max contract with the Atlanta Hawks, I, as a Hawks fan, couldn't get the following phrase to leave my head: "doomed to upper-level mediocrity."
So far, that phrase has been perfectly accurate. Johnson is good enough to get the Hawks to the playoffs ever year, but this team just can't get over the hump. It's a bit frustrating to make it to either the first or second round of the postseason each and every year before bowing out and going home for the summer.
The only way for Johnson's contract to lose it's albatross quality is for the shooting guard to help the Hawks win a title. Atlanta has a number of pieces in place, namely Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford. But the Hawks are missing two crucial parts to the puzzle.
If Horford and Smith continue sliding over to center and power forward, respectively, the Hawks need a small forward and a point guard. If Smith and Horford go to their more natural positions, with Smith as an over-sized small forward and Horford at power forward, the Hawks need a center and a point guard.
The only consistent missing piece is point guard, with no true disrespect meant to Jeff Teague, who is a slightly below-average starting guard in the league. Guess what position Steve Nash plays!
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LeBron James' letdown of a performance in the 2011 NBA Finals helped "save" the career of Dirk Nowitzki, enabling him to win the first and only ring of his career.
That said, a reunion with Steve Nash could "save" it once more and open the door for a possible second ring.
The Dallas Mavericks aren't in great shape right now thanks to their aging roster, and Nash wouldn't help reverse that trend. However, the point guard is good enough to fight Father Time and remain one of the best floor generals that the NBA has to offer.
Seeing Nash's career go from Phoenix to Dallas to Phoenix to Dallas would not only be interesting and sentimental, but it would also help form the dynamic duo of Nash and Nowitzki once more.