Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant: Who Gets to Dominate the Ball?
Source confirms: The Suns are sending Steve Nash to the Lakers for draft picks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2012
As part of the deal, Nash received a pretty nice sum, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears:
Nash gets 3-year guaranteed $27 million deal, his agent Bill Duffy tells Y! "He's ecstatic. He gets to be close to his children," Duffy said— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 5, 2012
In the Nash sign-and-trade, the #Suns will get 2013 & 2015 first-round picks and 2013 & 2014 second-round picks.— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) July 5, 2012
Additionally, the Suns will receive a sum of cash, according to Spears:
The Suns get $3 million in the Nash trade.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 5, 2012
It's clear that the Lakers gave up a ton to land Nash. They wouldn't have done so with the intention of bringing him on just to let Bryant dominate the ball. They expect Nash to take the pressure off of Bryant in that department so that he'll be free to run without the ball.
Whether or not that actually happens is a massive question mark at this point. We know that Bryant can be a ball hog at times. But if the Lakers have any hopes of making something out of their blockbuster trade to acquire Nash, they will make sure he's the one handling the ball.
It would be pure folly for Bryant to be the one dominating the ball for the Lakers.
It's hard to imagine Bryant not getting this. He is a smart guy, and I'd be shocked to see him not acquiesce to Nash next season.
Nash isn't like any other point guard Bryant has played with in the past. His decision-making on offense is nearly flawless, and his ability to move through traffic—even at the age of 39—puts many young players to shame.
Bryant isn't a big-time slasher/dunker anymore. He can still get the job done when there's an open lane, but he's not going to leap over Dwight Howard anytime soon. His game has progressed as his body has regressed, and he is far more effective shooting the ball than he is getting to the rack nowadays.
Who dominates the ball for the Lakers in 2012-2013?
Bringing Nash on to the roster allows Bryant to operate within a set offense much in the same way we've seen Ray Allen do over the past five years with the Boston Celtics. He can move around screens without the ball, setting himself up for open jumpers—which he'll knock down with more regularity minus the duties of running the Lakers offense.
Nash is going to be a true floor general for Bryant and the Lakers going forward. He'll give the team the stability they've long been missing, and as long as he's the one with the ball in his hands, they'll be a dangerous team in the Western Conference for the next few years.
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