The Case For Steve Nash

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The Case For Steve Nash
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The general consensus recognizes Steve Nash as a fantastic player throughout the past decade, but he's been tagged with a controversial MVP issue that's noted to be a big factor today in questioning the validity of the media that participates in the voting process. Throughout the past couple of years I've heard arguers against Nash state the following: "M-V-P stands for the best player in the game, Steve Nash by no means is that"  or "Steve Nash and his defenseve liabilities in no way makes him an MVP", and of course "MVP awards don't carry much weight in today's league, as Steve Nash has two of them". 

Nash was signed onto a Suns team that was apart of lottery system the previous season winning just 29 games.  The 2004 Suns were ranked a dismal 24th in Defensive Rating, and 21st in Offensive Rating.  Although injuries to Amar'e Stodumire took a toll early on in the season, the Suns finished the last 30 games off with their "Big Three" of Stodumire, Shawn Marion, and Joe Johnson with an absolute dreadfull 10-20 record to close off the season.  The Suns needed a player to command their fluid and set motion offense, and Nash seemed to be the perfect fit.

Entering the 2004-2005 NBA season, the Suns also added Quentin Richardson to their already offense packed lineup.  Before the start of the season, numerous media outlets like NBA.com, ESPN, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated predicted the Suns to end up with no more than 50 wins, with at best being a 5th seed in the Western Conference Standings.

The Suns had a 62-20 overall record in the 2004-2005 NBA season, statistically they were the fastest and best offensive team in the league.  With Nash, the Suns had a 60-15 record, and 2-5 without him.  The Suns seemed like a complete team, with the addition of Nash the Suns won an extra 32 games from the previous season.  Although the MVP voting was close and controversial between Nash and Miami Heat's Shaquille O'Neal, Nash walked away as that 2005 league MVP, and it's good to note that the impact of both players was sigificant to their respective teams.

In the 2005 off season, the Suns made two big changes by trading Joe Johnson and Quentin Richardson (two players that were at big success to the Suns in '05). To make matters worse, Stodumire announced season ending micro-fracture surgery, who was one of the Suns most utilized offensive weapons. So that's three assets completely gone out of their starting lineup, the Suns replaced them with Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, Eddie House, James Jones, Tim Thomas, and Kurt Thomas. That's a total of six new players that Nash utilized as key players for production throughout a span of an 82 game season.

Raja Bell the year before played for the  Utah Jazz coming off the bench averaging 12.3 ppg, Boris Diaw wasn't wasn't a trusted player and didn't showcase any potential until his arrival to Phoenix, Eddie House was a 5 ppg bench player, James Jones had an appalling reputation of chucking away shot attempts. Kurt Thomas was nothing more than a solid all around vetern big man, and Tim Thomas was just another 10-12 ppg contributor. So that's six new players to replace two All-Stars, and one key starter.

Starting the season off, it wasn't expected for this team to be once again in championship contention, especially with some of the players that were replaced, including Nash missing his biggest and most lethal offensive weapon in Stoumire. However, Nash stepped up his role significantly, averaging 18 ppg 11 apg  FG 50% 3PT 40% FT 90%, and took them to a 54 win season.  He won the MVP voting by a fair margin, and it wasn't close by any means. Even after being down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, Nash led the team to a Game 7 beat down, and once again brought the team to the Western Conference Finals for the 2nd consecutive season.

Dirk Nowitzki was also a leading candidate throughout the season, however he did play with better players than Nash.  LeBron James was voted runner-up with his tremendous statistical season he had, but are statistics everything? James led that team to 50 wins, but his cast wasn't anything of the poor. Big Z, Drew Gooden were combining for 25 ppg 18 rpg 3 bpg, Larry Hugues started the season, but ended up getting hurt. When he did get hurt, their record was exactly: 18-10, with already one 8 game winning streak, and another 6 game winning streak. They then later had a 9 game winning streak in the season which boosted their total wins by a pretty significant margin in a watered down Eastern Conference, but if you look at the season splits a lot of the other players, they stepped up overall on both ends to end the season off.  Kobe Bryant was another candidate, but his team success simply didn't measure up to his historical outing.

Nash simply utilized his supporting cast perfectly,and got the most production out of his cast than any other player in the league throughout a three year span (2004-2007).  Nash was also the runner up in the 2007 MVP voting, as with Stodumire back they were more equipped and better than ever.  His shooting percentages of FG 50% 3PT 40% and FG 90% are noted to be rare and historic averages that only a small handful players have accomplished throughout the league's existence.  Nash throughout the past couple of years has gotten hate for his credentials that he subsequently doesn't deserve, and it's been proven statistically that he's deserved them just like any other superstar.  Nash simply created elite teams in Phoenix, something he certainly wasn't expected to do, his offensive impact throughout a three year span was significantly greater than any other player at the time.

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