Help Steve Nash Help You

Emile Avanessian —  July 25, 2012

During his eight-year run in Phoenix, Steve Nash led the NBA in assists six times, and five times in assists per game and Assist Rate, finishing in the top three in each category every year. He turned in a record four seasons in which he made 50% of his field goals, 40% of his 3-pointers and 90% of his free throws, missing narrowly on two other occasions –2006-07 (89.9% FT) and 2010-11 (39.5% from 3). Three times he quarterbacked the Suns to the conference finals, missing trips to the championship round consecutive years due to Joe Johnson’s face and Robert Horry’s ass.

For his trouble, Nash earned six All-star selections, three All-NBA First Team nods (and a pair of Seconds) and a pair of league MVP trophies. Additionally, he earned charter membership in the League Pass Hall of Fame, gained the inside track on entry into that other Hall and cemented his status as one of the great player representatives in NBA history. What… whah?

Yessir. We occupy a world in which Shawn Marion, Raja Bell, Jared Dudley, Leandro Barbosa, Channing Frye and Lou Amundson have pounded paychecks totaling more than $220 million. This figure will approach $250 mill by 2015. Tim Thomas has been paid nearly $25 million since 2006. Give kudos to the David Falks of the world if you must, but…

So three weeks ago, a Laker offseason soaked in questions and seemingly destined to hinge on an all-in play aimed at upgrading the always vital “occasional pain in the ass, sublimely gifted big man” spot took a dramatic turn with the acquisition of the aforementioned virtuoso. Nash’s arrival on the Lakers’ roster did little to quell the questions that swirl around this team.

In the weeks to come, we’ll continue to discuss Dwight Howard’s future home. We’ll question the ability of Kobe Bryant to coexist with an assertive, pure point guard (I say this ends extremely well. Nash is Kobe’s kind of player – tough, detail-oriented and a workaholic. Plus, fair or not, he could throw an MVP trophy on eBay and still match Bean’s tally). We’ll wonder aloud about Pau Gasol’s future with the Lakers (he was just gifted a playmaker for whom his game was seemingly custom made), as well as that of Andrew Bynum (who knows? I’m not comfortable handicapping his internal dialogue).

In due time, however. For me, since the announcement of Nash’s relocation to Staples, one recurring question has dominated… which completely average Laker will he Point God into national prominence and an eight-figure payday? A walk through Nash’s days in the desert reveals beneficiaries past, and provides a template for those to come…

Andrew Bynum/Amar’e Stoudemire (with a side of Tim Thomas) – Ok, so I tweaked this one. ‘Drew – like Amar’e before him – is already a star. Also like STAT, he’s got an injury record that’s too significant to ignore, but (in Stoudemire’s case, until the spring of 2011) has done little damage to his professional standing. That’s because, also like STAT, he has more talent than any reasonable person knows what to do with. So much in fact, that he occasionally becomes flummoxed, and does virtually nothing at all.

To extend the comparison, if Bynum is the Lakers’ starting center this season, Nash will extract more of his best than we’ve ever seen. Look for at least 20-12 from ‘Drew in 2012-13, along with a starting nod for the All-Star Game and (if you’d like to call me crazy, here is your first opportunity) a dalliance with MVP candidacy.

Unlike many former Suns for whom Nash has secured tens of millions of dollars, Andrew Bynum does not stand to benefit financially from Point God’s presence. Barring an unforeseen turn of events, Bynum is a virtual lock to be showered with max money, either by the Lakers or someone else. Thanks to Steve Nash, however, he’ll deserve those fat checks more than ever before.

Christian Eyenga/Leandro Barbosa (pipe dream: Shawn Marion) – Perhaps the biggest reach of the bunch. A 23 year-old whose career point tally (320) falls short of that any month churned out by Kobe Bryant in 2005-06, compared with a former Sixth Man of the Year who, at his best ranked among the game’s most incisive attackers, let alone a four-time All Star, who in six full seasons as the evolutionary James Worthy managed no worse than a 19.8 PER.

That said, since the start of 2009-10 (Barbosa’s last season as a Sun) and 2007-08 (the season in which Marion was dealt to the Miami Heat) neither has topped his worst True Shooting Percentage or PER mark of the “Seven Seconds or Less” era.

Though the comparisons are meant somewhat in jest, who’s to say that a super-athletic (again, 23 year-old) wing – albeit one desperately in need of on-court reps as well as a jump shot – is incapable of linking up with one of history’s great playmakers and developing into, say, two thirds of prime Barbosa?

Jordan Hill/Channing Frye – A pair of former Knicks’ #8 overall picks for whom the NBA transition proved tougher than originally expected. After an excellent rookie campaign in New York (12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, 47.7% from the field), Frye fell off, leading to a trade to Portland following his second season. After a pair of increasingly lackluster seasons with Blazers, Frye found himself in free agency in the summer of 2009.

Fortunately for Channing, the Phoenix Suns – well, Steve Nash, really – were on hand with a lifeline. On essentially a one-year deal and presumably playing for his NBA future, he returned to the form that made him a prized prospect as a rookie, averaging 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and connecting on a career-high 43.9% of his 4.8 3-point attempts per game… and scoring $30 million over the next five years.

Cut from a similar cloth, Hill took the floor a whopping 24 times for the Knicks (not terribly at that, averaging 14 and 8.7 per 36 minutes, with a 15 PER), before heading to Houston in a February 2010 trade. In 127 games between the trade and the spring of 2011, his (again) solid play (13 and 10.5 per 36; he averaged 15 minutes per game), and Hill was again sent packing, this time to L.A. In 19 games as a Laker, Hill provided a desperately needed spark, nearly pricing himself out of the budget in the process, with seven games of 6 and 6 or better (in just 11.7 minutes per game), averages of 14.6 points and 13.5 boards per 36 and an NBA best 18.9% Offensive Rebound Rate in 12 postseason games.

Metta World Peace/Raja Bell – Defensive stoppers with a propensity for, err, enthusiastically imposing their respective wills on the cranial region of opposing two guards, each with a headbutt of sorts with Kobe Bryant under his belt.

Having made at least 37% of his 3-pointers in nine of the last 10 seasons, compared with just two in 12 full seasons for Metta, Bell is pretty clearly the superior perimeter marksman. However, as the least potent member of a unit in which all remaining members command the attention of multiple defenders – but with a physical presence on defense that will keep him on the floor – Metta is in line for a steady stream of open looks, as both a spot-up man and a cutter.

Matt Barnes*/Matt Barnes – Though he suffered through his worst defensive season as a pro (per Basketball Reference, he allowed 111 points per 100 defensive possessions), Barnes’ 2008-09 campaign – his only one with with Nash and the Suns – was his best as a passer (3.7 assists/36 minutes; 14.5% Assist Rate), and his second best as a scorer (13.6 points/36), perimeter shooter (34.3% on 3-pointers) and defensive rebounder (18.5% DRR).

Whether it’s reasonable to expect a 38 year-old Nash to coax 28 year-old form out of a 32 year-old Barnes is debatable, but there few lead guards at any age I’d rather bet on to manage the feat.

Andrew Goudelock/Quentin Richardson – Ask the average fan about Q-Rich’s lone season with Nash and you’re likely to be regaled with anecdotal tales of knockdown shooting. The fact is, however, that while Richardson averaged eight attempts (freaking EIGHT), making 2.9, from beyond the arc in 2004-05, he connected at an above average (for a decent shooter) 35.8%, but shot just 38.9% overall from the field.

In 10 minutes per game as a rookie, despite connecting on just 39.1% of his field goals overall, Goudelock connected on nearly one (0.7) of 1.9 – or 37.3% – 3-point attempts per game. Per 36 minutes, that’s a Quentin-esque 2.4 of 6.4. Assuming nothing more than the normal growth in minutes than comes with a year of experience (to say, 15 minutes per) along with the benefit of spotting up for Steve Nash passes, off of Steve Nash penetration, and ‘Lock may in line for a payday that neither Derek Fisher, Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake nor his agent could have secured for him.

Josh McRoberts/Lou Amundson – A pair of unproductive but energetic “glue guys,” for whom an NBA paycheck will remain a thing longer than logic would dictate it should, thanks entirely (ok, in large part) to Steve Nash.

A season removed from having earned ~$210,000 playing for three different teams and failing to post a double digit PER in any stint with any of them, Amundson joined the Suns, where he enjoyed the only above average years of his career, earned another two years in the NBA and $4+ million.

A superior athlete of higher pedigree and spectacular finisher at rim, look for Nash’s lobability to not only turn McBobs into a highlight reel darling, but to bank the former Dukie seven, maybe eight figures he’d otherwise never see.

Devin Ebanks*/Jared Dudley – Dudley is an excellent Twitter follow and, by all accounts, a really nice guy. Running alongside Steve Nash, he’s established himself as a pretty above average player that can bury an open jumper.

However, in Nash’s absence, with faster, quicker, more athletic defenders no longer having to sag into the lane while protecting against picture perfect kickouts, it’s difficult to envision anything but a bruising fall to mediocrity.

Ebanks, on the other hand, while a decidedly inferior shooter (in far fewer opportunities), is precisely the type of young running mate that Nash raises to prominence. An atheltic 6’9″-215, Ebanks (who now, in his third year, should see the floor for 20-24 minutes per game) should present Nash with a excellent target on the break. Whether Devin’s got the all-around game to truly crack Nash’s stable of clients remains to be seen, but, again, if it’s going to happen with anyone…

*Assuming he remains a Laker

 

Emile Avanessian

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46 responses to Help Steve Nash Help You

  1. Good column. Nash will definitely make his teammates better/more efficient on offense.

    “nearly one (0.9) of 1.9 – or 37.3% – ”
    Might want to check the math on that.

  2. We haven’t re-signed Barnes yet, have we? He’d be a good candidate for improvement alongside Nash; cutters need elite passers to maximize their skills, and the only one Barnes has played with so far is Gasol.

  3. wait, Barnes isn’t on the Lakers right now is he

  4. Good column.

    Made me feel like resigning Brick Barnes.

  5. A couple of hasty errors (hazard of publishing from the office) – fixed. Glad you caught them early on. Thanks guys.

  6. Great post. I’m just anxious to see how Nash reacts to much different spacing. Those passing lanes he’s used to seeing are about 2 arms length now they’ll be one.

    I really like the Barbosa/Eyenga comparison. Barbosa had excellent handles and shot making abilites. Maybe Lakers can sign Barbosa to play the same role he did in Phoenix.

  7. God, I hope you’re right.

    1.2-1.5 3pt FGs a game for Goudelock would be great this year. And McBobs actually earning his paycheck would be good too.

  8. any_one_mouse July 25, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Any guesses on how Nash will help Kobe and Pau ?
    I’m thinking Kobe’s scoring comes down to around 25ppg, but his FG% goes up into the high 40s.

    As for Pau, I’m guessing 20 ppg again?

  9. any_one_mouse: in a perfect world kobe, pau, bynum 18-19 each. Nash 12-10 Ron 14 and about 30 bench points. That would be a balanced attack. Any player mid 20’s avg. with this team wouldn’t be balanced would cause more harm than good imo.

  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IgXmvhX_9o

    I don’ think the Lakers would have signed Steve Nash if that had watched this.

    Steve Nash is nuts.

  11. How did Emile beat me to the Bynum for MVP bandwagon!!????!!

  12. nino dela cruz July 25, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Go Lakers…i envision the Lakers offense just like the Showtime/SSOL but much slower version but with more fluid offensive sets..
    Many championship teams in the last decade won with a more fluid offensive sets…Can mike brown incorporate the 4out/1in offense? its very hard to imagine..with Nash who is very knowledgeable Hall of famr caliber point guard will run this offense??? but we are all excited what will us, the lakers fun, are STEVE NASH instore for us…we are hoping and aiming for that championship…

  13. Off topic, but what are everyone’s thoughts on Antawn getting #4?

  14. Might have news tomorrow morning.

    …or not.

  15. #12- Nothing personal against Jamison, but it’s a travesty. If the Lakers shared the Celtics’ approach to retiring jerseys, #4 would have been out of commission for at least the last decade.

  16. Emile #14 – That was pretty much how I felt when I saw the picture. I always tell people that if the Lakers were like the Celtics, we’d have no numbers left for new players! I would’ve loved to have seen Byron up on the wall, but I guess whilst we stick with the HoF requirement (which hopefully doesn’t change), then he’s just a fondly remembered Laker, not an all-time, retired jersey Laker.

  17. Even though the Lakers stick to their method of retiring jersey’s some numbers should still be off limits. With that said, Ron Harper wore number 4 for the few seasons he played for the Lakers. So, it not like Jamison is breaking any new ground there.

  18. kehntangibles July 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    And hey – Jamison has GOT to do better things with the #4 jersey than Luke, right?

  19. On a side note I have infinity disguist towards Tim Thomas. I was laughing so hard at him for standing looking lost after Kobe made the GW in game 4. I was all out of sorts from laughing so hard. Then he was draining clutch 3s left and right the rest of the series. I was absolutely sick.

  20. Bynum will sign extension. Bynum does not even trust his own knees.

  21. Emile: I will give you credit for creativity, but I for one have no desire to emulate the Suns : )
    rr: “Robert’s oracular pronouncements and repeated scare-quotes catch phrases” I resemble that remark : )
    D12: It is time for Howard’s agent to change tactics. It is time for DH to choose the Lakers and put an ultimatum to the Magic. Trade me to LA now, with not so veiled threat that if not, he grabs his back and sits out the first half of the season. Hennigan will get that. Dirty pool yes – but so is the stall game the Magic has going on.

  22. Kobe Alert: We need to hope Kobe gets just what he wants during the Olympics. He will not be the leading scorer, or the guy who always has the ball, but he will – when the game is on the line – be “the man”. He gets his gold medal, he will be the most popular American at the Olympics, and he will still be #8. This is what those hoping for KB to change should root for.

  23. Look, all those rumors that ORL are meeting with DH…Is that true?
    Meet to say what? “Are you willing to play for ORL whle we’re in rebuild mode?”

    “You + scrubs?”

    Is this real, really?

  24. I think it’s a mistake to assume that Nash will have the same impact on the Lakers as he had with Phoenix. He’s obviously going to have a big impact, but without D’Antoni’s system, I would expect his impact to be noticeably less. The seven seconds or less offense is a statistical dream come true for any average to great PG. Rayon Felton and Jeremy Lin played like all-stars under this system, and their play was noticeably worse when playing under a different system. Even Nash struggled, relatively, when the offense was slowed down, and revolved around Shaq.

    Couple this with the fact that Nash will be playing alongside two lumbering seven footers, along with a slow footed Artest, and it’s safe to assume that a large portion of Laker fans have unrealistic expectations, as far as the level of impact Nash will have.

    (Getting a transition and P&R player like Dwight Howard should go a long way, as far as maximizing Nash’s effectiveness, and one of the reasons Dwight needs to be a Laker).

  25. Emile’s write up gives Nash most, if not all the credit, for making his teammates better. Nash making his teammates better cannot be disputed, but D’Anotoni’s system is also a major factor for the statistical improvement of many of his teammates.

  26. Lt Mitchell

    Nice to see someone who see’s thing as they are. Certain players complained when Sessions ran to fast. Nash is a better passer and moves the offense way better. Not going to work as well with lumbering Andrew, football player Artest and often tiring Pau.

    Yes they will be better but with Brown’s lack of offensive talent with a slower, poor outside shooting starting team we may find that Nash plays better with the 2nd unit. Nash in Brown’s offense last year would have ended up being 23 seconds or less offensive.

    There is little difference in Shaq and AB and the Shaq Suns days got a F for futile.

  27. For the Steve Nash none believers out there here’s what i say.. First and for most his Individual Defense they say is TERRIBLE right? heres how that thing does not really matter or if it does very very very minimal.. simply because superstars or lets just say superior scorer’s like Westbrook, Parker, Paul, and the rest of the A list PG East and West are unguardable anyway! Example: Westbrook average almost 40pts a game in the finals series and who’s gurading him??? Dwane Wade a top five defense efficiency out of all guards in the nba! The simple logic apply’s to all superstars in the league, and that is no one at all individually can be a good defender against a superstar as in nobody, superstars do what they do and you can only hope to contain him and not stop him and containing a superstar takes a team defense and not to rely on individual defense! tell me if anybody was able to stop the likes of.. Kobe, Durant, James, Wade, Westbrook, Parker, Paul, ShaQ in his prime, Duncan, Howard, Garnett, Pierce, and a whole lot more! Question..? Has anyone able to stop the great playmaking Nash does for over a decade now? answer is NOBODY!!! Superstars get’s paid hundred of millions because they all have one thing in common, their unstoppable! u can only contain them and it takes team defense not individual defense..

  28. Second one they say nash only runs high octane offense and will not be productive in a half court set.. WRONG!!! The suns have been a half court offensive team since D’Antoni left, which is about 3 years now, check the stats on nash’s profile and tell me if there’s a huge decline in what he does best on the past five years or so.. you’ll probably find a difference about .3 to .5 or most 1% either it went up or down, when your a great playmaker it does not matter which team or offense you run, you just find your way.. Someone said something about ShaQ when he slowed down nash and all that although when you look it up Nash stats when down but very little, but ok just to make an argument about it, ShaQ got traded to phoenix and guess what he did??? He stuck himself underneath the rim and setup a camping there all season long.. No disrespect to ShaQ although he was really OLD at that time and did not follow Nash’s anti aging regiment.. Im basically saying Shaq did not have the word AGILE at all in any case or any situation in that stint he had in phoenix, in Fact phoenix had the worst recorded 5second offensive and defensive violation in team history that year when Shaq was there! So if soeone will tell me that BYNUM will do the same as far as what Shaq did when he was at age 70 in phoenix, BYNUM might as well retire!!!

  29. Lastly they say nash just made them so much older and he’s got a year left of productiveness and so on.. In paper that’s true he just made them older BUT as far as basketball wise and playing capability is concern here’s what i’ll say.. ARE YOU GUYS BLEEPING KIDDING ME??? ask the great pretender Mark Cuban, Ask all the ESPN analyst haters out there??? they finally slowed down and somehow even some of them turned their Steve Nash is done to how he’s defying all sorts of science for still playing at a high level at the age of 38 and is still considered a top five PG in the nba as of the present and not to mention he was 1PG just a few years ago.. Every year they say he’ll breakdown, he’s slow down, he’ll be hunted with this and that because of an aging body.. say what???? Coz i have not seen it and this issue has been going on for the last 7-8 years now!!! His declining of course but very slow because he does all the right things to stay competitive in a high level.. The way his going he can still play a decent role at the age of 43 put that on record! I’ll just leave it at this imagine a laker play looking like this>>> nash pick and roll with bynum gasol surveying the freethrow area, kobe and artest/spotup shooter waiting on the wing/3pt arc or vice versa, kobe could be running that pick and roll as well nash at 3pt arc and put bynum near the rim for that wide open dunk.. Just imagine any team and i mean ANY TEAM trying to defend that kind of play and figuring out which one will need help defense… Only God knows how.. team JAMES better be ready coz it wont be easy this time around..

  30. Glad to see a few responders are not overlooking the BIGGEST question pertaining to Nash controling the ball; Kobe’s touches & shot selection. If Kobe buys in: the Lakers are in the Finals, if he doesn’t, the Lakers are not. It’s that simply.

    To #’s 13, 15, & 16: As for Jamison wearing #4, absolutely no issue with that. Ron Harper & Luke Walton wore #4 after Byron Scott, why not Jamison. In addition, Scott was, at best a solid player with the Lakers who had a few very good seasons with the Lakers . Remember, Scott was part of a six player deal with the Clips in ’83. Basically he was traded for Norm Nixon, a very popular Laker All-Star (2 time All-Star actually, once w/ the Lakers in ’82 & w/ the Clips in ’85) who was only 27 at the time. Nixon also led the NBA in steals in the ’78-’79 season.

    While Scott was part of the last three Laker titles in the ’80’s, Nixon was a major part of the first two. As a matter of fact, Nixon shared scoring honors with Kareem in the ’82 post-season championship season. Averaging 20.4 ppg and 8.1 apg (Magic averaged 17.4 ppg & 9.3 apg).

    I been a Laker fan since ’65. In my book, Byron Scott was no Norm Nixon. So as stated, I have no problems with Jamison wearing # 4.

    Norm Nixon wore #10 when he played with the Lakers. His number was not retired, and a long list of forgettable players have wore his number since (Larry Drew, Tyronn Lue, Lindsey Hunter, Vlad Radmanovic, & Trey Jonson).

    In a strange twist of faith, both # 4 & #10 will be worn by players (Jamison & Nash respectively) this season who are expected to play major roles if the Lakers are expected to compete for a title.

    I believe they will.

  31. LT mitchell: I am a little more optimistic than you with regard to Nash, however your last statement about Nash/Howard is perfect.
    Josh/Michael H (prior thread): The Lakers will be good with the current roster. In fact they might be very good. However rr is correct that there was a gap between us and OKC that has probably narrowed but not closed. And Miami is another matter entirely. It’s all about goals. If you want a good team – we are there. If you want a title – probably not.

  32. These are great points about helping other players. My only quibble is that Nash will not be on the court long enough to help all of them. It will be difficult for him to play 3 full quarters so it will be up to Morris to help bring out the stars.

  33. Right Baylor Fan. Not concerned about Nash`s 32 min but about ??16min. The development of the bench and 2nd unit will be the key this season. The 3 around Bynum/Pau, Jamison/Hill on the 2nd unit have much to prove.

  34. I agree with keeping Barnes. His game has great potential to flourish with Nash who has a knack of making the ordinary become extraordinary. With our new floor general we are definitely much improved. If healthy I like our chances.

  35. It’ll be an adjustment for everyone. Nash will have to adjust to totally different spacing, Kobe to letting the offense dictate, Ron and Pau are glue guys they’ll have the easiest transition. Bynum will have to adjust to being far more mobile than stationary as he’s been in the past.

    Word is they’ll be running the princeton offense which should help everyone.

    As we all know, if he’s here, the team’s championship run depends on Bynum. He can have the most impact for this Lakers team. Impact not meaning better but he can change games a variety of ways no player on the Lakers can. If Bynum is willing play defense and rebound first we’ll be in good shape.

  36. It seems there’s some revisionist history going on about the one full season Shaq played in Phoenix. A few facts about that season:

    *Shaq made the All-star team. He averaged 17.8 points, shot almost 61% on the season and grabbed about 8 rebounds. He was 36 years old that year.

    *Amare averaged 21.4 points on 54% shooting and grabbed 8 rebounds a game.

    *Nash averaged 15.7 points and 9.7 assists. He shot 50.3% on the year.

    *The Suns still played at the 4th fastest pace in the league that season.

    *The Suns still ranked 2nd in offensive efficiency that year.

    Basically, I’m not sure why people are trying to say that the Suns weren’t a fantastic offensive team that year. There were some adjustments to be made with a more crowded lane but everyone seemed to find their way just fine.

    Where the Suns were awful was on defense. Their defensive efficiency was 111.6 (22nd in the league). Shaq was awful on defense by that point in his career and Amare has never been a good defensive player beyond getting some weakside blocked shots. The guy the Suns really missed that year was Shawn Marion (who was traded for Shaq) as he was always the Suns’ defensive lynchpin.

    At this point in their careers. Pau and Bynum are much better defenders than Amare and Shaq were in that season. Add in Ron and Kobe there really shouldn’t be a comparison between this current version of the Lakers and that Suns team.

    Of course age is a variable that may come into play. As will coaching and these players getting used to each other. But when making comparisons, we should explore what actually happened and why that Suns team didn’t achieve what folks hoped they would. It was really more of a defensive issue than an offensive one.

  37. Someone just commented on Darius Morris needing to adequately back up Nash. Yes he does. I have long felt he is a NBA PG. If Steve Blake continues to play back up PG now that the Lakers are definatley going to be running a PG offense with Nash I will cry myself to sleep for an entire season. One can only hope Brown is a stats guy who saw Blake was almost as bad as Fisher the last couple years and was one the the worlds worst back up PGs. Now that the offense will be using a PG it’s of the utmost importance for the Lakers to play a back up PG.

  38. Darius

    You make some valids points about comparing the Suns to LA, with Shaq in 2008-2009, playing at the 4th fastest pace in the league and 2nd in efficiency with him in the lineup. What you didnt take into account was the entire roster of players. J. Richardson, Matt Barnes, Grant Hill, Leandro Barbosa, and Boris Diaw where on that team which allowed them to play wide open. I dont see those type of athletes or shooters on this current roster to allow the proper spacing to get even close to those numbers.

  39. I can see why fans(including me) are hestitant to praise the Nash signing as an end to all and a road to a championship. When there are no players in LA that come close to mirroring who Nash had at his disposal in PHX and made him a 2 time MVP.

  40. #38. I wasn’t attempting to make a full point about that as I was more commenting on the general theme that with two bigs and Nash, the team will struggle.

    However, playing a fast style isn’t as much about fast breaks but in getting shots up quicker within the context of running an offense. In watching the Olympics, you can see how a simple run out by one wing can lead to a quick shot. With those Suns teams, there were also a lot of secondary break actions – drag P&R’s mostly – that led to quick hitting shots either from the wing or going to the rim with big men or from Nash.

    I’ve no issue plugging Kobe in JR’s spot, Ron into Hill’s spot, Ebanks into Barnes spot, and Pau (or Jordan Hill) into Diaw’s spot and seeing how things could flow quite similarly to those Suns teams should the Lakers take that approach.

    Whether that’s the approach they do take is a different question and the answer remains to be seen. But, I think it’s fair to say that tempo is not only a product of personnel but of philosophy. Last season, the Lakers chose to play a slow down style. Gasol can still change ends well. So can Kobe. Ron can still make plays in the open court when he’s physically right (as he was towards the end of the regular season). Jordan Hill is a good athlete. As is Ebanks. Steve Blake actually looks most comfortable pushing the ball and had great chemistry with Matt Barnes. However, last season the coaches saw their biggest strength to be their post up game via Bynum, Kobe, and Gasol. They purposely slowed the game down to try and punish teams inside. But there are many ways to skin a cat even when using the same tools. We’ll just have to see what approach the Lakers take.

  41. “When there are no players in LA that come close to mirroring who Nash had at his disposal in PHX and made him a 2 time MVP.”

    Kobe, Pau, and Bynum all right now are better than any player Nash had at his disposal on that team.

  42. Amare back then was significantly better than Pau now

  43. mindcrime

    Those three players you mentioned are better when you slow the ball down and play at a snails pace. Im talking about players getting out in transition and getting easy buckets before the defense has a chance to setup. Individually this team has more talent than that Sun team, but their skillset complemented each other as a whole better than this current team on offense.

  44. “They purposely slowed the game down to try and punish teams inside.”

    If that was their objective they sure did fool me by the way the team continued too jack up shots early in the offense,standing and watching Kobe do his thing.

  45. #44. And that was a major issue with last year’s team. That’s why I said “try”. The fact is, with inconsistent outside shooting, the team didn’t generate good enough spacing and that hindered their post up chances. That led to bogged down possessions that broke down or the ball getting swung around the perimeter with wings (mostly Kobe) taking jumpers.

    As an aside, the coaches (rightfully) still swa Kobe as a feature player. So they also ran a lot of sets to get him the ball.

  46. WIth the personell and coaching staff we have, I think the Lakers O is going to look a lot less like any Steve Nash Suns team and a lot more like the Spurs, with Nash playing the part of Tony Parker, Kobe as Manu, Pau/Drew as Duncan/Robinson, and Metta as Steven Jackson. And honestly I think that’s the model that the front office is going for in this as well, though they will probably be crossing their fingers that the bench can provide plenty of rest for the starters as well as the Spurs bench currently does.