Did Nash Make Stoudemire or did Stoudemire Make Nash?
Countless sports writers, fans and friends alike have continued to repeat the same mantra as if it is a ritualistic initiation into an higher level of basketball consciousness. "Steve Nash made Stoudemire the player he is". "Amare won't be the player he was without Nash". Ohhmmmmmm.
Ok, it's time to put the incense out and open your eyes. Amare Stoudemire was a great player before Nash and will be one afterwards as well. Not to take any credit from Nash, because without question, he is one of the best to do it. But I think it's time to roll this belief up in the rug, and put it on the curb next to the rest of the garbage out there.
Let's look at the stats.
Note: Stats don't tell the complete story, but Nash is know for his assists and Stoudemire for his points in the paint. We will look at both and see how they compare prior to them being teammates and after to see how they impacted each other.
Steve Nash: The Pre Stoudemire Numbers
In his illustrious 14 year career, Steve Nash spent most of his career playing with Stoudemire.
If we look at the Nash's assist prior to linking up with Amare it is clear that his assist average was no where near what it was with him.
As a matter of fact, the highest assist total he recorded in the 7 years prior to joining the Suns was 8.8 APG.
That is still better than a lot of guards, but lets put the cards on the table and see what the future holds.
Amare Stoudemire: The Pre Nash Numbers
Amare Stoudemire has wreaked havoc on the best big men in the league throughout his 8 year career with the Phoenix Suns.
He played for 2 years prior to the arrival of Nash.
As a rookie, he became The Rookie of the Year. In his 2nd season, Stoudemire averaged 20.6 ppg and 9.0 boards, one shy of averaging a double double.
Clearly this should be an indication of the talent he is posesses independent of Nash, but for some reason this has been magically removed from the memory of most.
After the 2003-2004 season, Nash became a free agent and returned to Suns after spending 6 seasons with the Mavericks. He joins Amare Stoudemire and helps lead the Suns to the Western Conference finals.
The joining of these two forces played a major role in the development and statistical increases of both players.
Steve Nash: The Conductor
After teaming up with Amare and the Phoenix Suns, Nash career took on a new life. His numbers went up drastically.
For 4 straight seasons he would maintain a combined average of 11APG!
His average dropped below double digits only once to 9.7 and that was in the 08-09 season. Coincidentally Stoudemire played only 56 games this season due to injury.
I don't think you need a crystal ball to see the connection.
Amare Stoudemire: The Finisher
In his first year with Nash, Stoudemire's scoring average increased to 26 PPG. Afterwards his average varied between 20 and 25 PPG.
Like Nash, his numbers practically never returned to what they once were. With the exception of one season, which he averaged 20.4 PPG, he was a more productive with Nash at the helm.
*This is excluding 05-06 due to the fact Amare was placed on injured reserve and only played 3 games. Nash assist avg dropped by 1 this season.
Good Players Make others Great
Contrary to popular belief, Stoudemire was a exceptional player before Nash returned to Phoenix. Nash did stellar things in Dallas prior to returning to the Suns. When these two stars were aligned, they made each other colassal and it was a spectacle for all to marvel.