The time of sports is always awake and active, moving from one sport to another, or several sports playing at similar times and weather seasons.
Those in the NBA had time to relax and enjoy time away from the NBA. The post-season was over in June, and then came along the off-season. The off-season was filled with many active movements; from signings, trades, league changes, etc.
Now the winds are shifting from the NBA teams training camps, to the present pre-season games being played by NBA teams, and international teams as well.
By the time of late October, the regular season of the NBA will emerge yet again, and many are excited to see what it has in store, from new faces in new places, to new referees, to how certain players bounce back from lesser seasons (Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Tracy McGrady, Elton Brand, etc).
One player that I find intriguing for the situation he is in; is Steve Nash.
In the off-season of 2009, Nash signed a two-year, $22 million extension with the Phoenix Suns.
Nash has always been known as one of the best point guards, as well as players, in all of the NBA. In fact, in 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, and maybe 2007-2008, Nash has widely been considered the best point guard in the NBA, and if not the best, definitely the top three.
This left the Suns in an awkward place, with no sure fire identity. They signed on a new head coach, Terry Porter, to play a half-court offense, to fit Shaquille O'Neal. However, this didn't go well for all the players, nor the teams success.
They were inconsistent, and streaky with what they'd get from their players. O'Neal had a great season, the best in a few years, but guys like Steve Nash notably struggled. Reason being, of the new half-court offense. Eventually, Terry Porter was fired, and Alvin Gentry was brought in as the new head coach, as well as bringing back the traditional run-and-gun offense.
This created a spark for the Suns, as the players became happier and more efficient, and W's were more likely to appear than L's in the schedule.
Now, 2005-2008, Nash was arguably the best PG (point guard) in the league. Then came along 2008-2009, and this changes. Nash has been questioned if he is in his prime. Nash is no longer the widely considered best PG, to some he isn't even top five anymore.
Now, tell me something: how does a player who was considered by some as a top 5 player throughout the NBA for a few years in a row, be said to have fallen off so much, that he is no longer top 5 in his position?!
Now look, I understand some PG's have stepped it up (Deron Williams, Chris Paul, etc), while others have maintained high status (Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Chanucey Billups, etc).
But I can't believe so many are falling trap to what they saw from Nash in 2008-2009. Now tell me, was Nash playing his style of basketball? No. Was he 100% comfortable in the new situation? No. Was the whole year a working progress, and never having one true identity? YES!
This all mixed together tells me, one can't judge Steve Nash fully by his 2009 NBA season. I mean come on, he still held his own with 15.7 ppg and 9.7 apg...overall, his ppg, apg, rbg, FG%, 3pt %, FT %, is all better - with the FG, FT, 3pt attempts remaining about equal and the minutes a game about equal - compared to his 2003-2004 season as a Dalls Maverick.
So what I take from this, is that Steve Nash could NOT be his own self throughout the season, thus making it a lesser season than some are accustom to seeing from him.
Now, the 2009-2010 season approaches. The Phoenix Suns have their identity; the face of their franchise is Steve Nash, their style is run-and-gun again, and their goal is to re-establish their run-and-gun offense and get the chemistry on par.
Steve Nash, and the rest of the Suns are comfortable with the team, the roster, the coach, and the re-emergence of their fast pace game.
This all signals something to me: that with this, Steve Nash may prove quite a few things. Although it may not be Nash's main goal, if he even cares what the media thinks of him, Nash might prove that he is in his prime as a basketball player, he is arguably still the best PG in the NBA, and that he is one of the elite players in the NBA, and arguably top 5-10.
Hear me out, Nash couldn't be himself in 2009, so how can he be judged? I mean before the sluggish season of 2009, Nash was averaging about 17-18 ppg and 11-12 apg over a four season stretch.
Those seasons came under a Steve Nash style offense, and now that it is back, who is to say that Nash will not re-emerge as the same Steve Nash who won two Most Valuable Player awards in the NBA a few seasons ago?
I for one, am going to examine the Phoenix Suns and watch their progress, and hope that Steve Nash can prove himself again. I can't believe that Nash is even in a spot where he must prove himself again... but it is what it is right? The time of the past has already happened, and the coming NBA season could see Steve Nash and the Pheonix Suns proving many things, including Nash being in his prime, and the Suns once again established as an elite team.
(*Note: This doesn't only go for Steve Nash, I believe as far as for what Nash went though it is similar, but not as bad, as what Allen Iverson went through as a Piston; uncomfortable situation, in a style he can't mesh with, on a team that wouldn't let him be himself. AI and Nash are two players I'm think I'll likely be seeing a re-established primed form from*)