Steve Nash: Assist Milestone Solidifies Lakers PG as One of the Best Ever

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 28:  Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers loses the ball in front LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on December 28, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

With his 10,000th assist Tuesday night, Steve Nash entered rarefied air.

There was one bright spot in the Los Angeles Lakers' 125-112 defeat to the Houston Rockets. In the waning moments of the first half, Nash set up Antawn Jamison for a layup, thus making Nash only the fifth player in NBA history with 10,000 assists.

Jason Kidd, John Stockton, Mark Jackson and Magic Johnson are the other four players in that exclusive group.

For Nash, the milestone only confirmed that he is one of the best point guards in the history of the league.

It is also a representation of his longevity. Even at 38 years old, Nash is maintaining an average of 8.8 assists a game, though those numbers are only through nine games.

Regardless, Nash will go down as one of the greatest of all time at his position.

Some might bring up that Nash was always a below average to poor defender. It's hard to argue, especially when you remember his time in Phoenix under Mike D'Antoni.

While he may not have been the most complete player, Nash remains one of the better offensive point guards ever.

He is one of the few point guards who you could make a highlight reel out of simply from the passes that he makes. The way he can thread a ball through a defense is incredible.

In addition to his ball-handling skills, he has been a superb shooter. Up to this point, Nash is a career .428 shooter from behind the three-point line. Were it not for Ray Allen, Nash might be known as the best pure shooter of his era.

The fact that he hasn't, to this point, won an NBA title shouldn't be a huge black mark on his resume.

Gary Payton won a ring in Miami, but it's a bit of an empty accomplishment considering how little he really contributed to that team.

Nash very easily could have angled for a move out of Phoenix when the franchise's fortunes took a turn for the worse a few years ago. Instead, he stuck it out.

Moving to the Lakers this past offseason was partially due to ring-chasing, but he is already playing a key role on this team. And you can't begrudge him for wanting out of Phoenix. Look where that team is now.

There is also his off-court accomplishments. Few players in the NBA's history have been as socially aware as Nash. In 2006, Time magazine named him one of its 100 most influential people.

Whether it is his play on the court or his exploits off, Nash's legacy is secure.