Video: Grantland’s “The Finish Line” Chronicles Steve Nash’s Season

Darius Soriano —  March 1, 2014

This has, undoubtedly, been the most difficult season of Steve Nash’s hall of fame career. The nerve root irritation stemming from the broken leg he suffered last season has dragged into this season, making him unavailable for all but 10 games this season. He’s tried multiple treatments, taken leave from the team to train with his personal trainer in his native Vancouver, and has worked as hard as he ever has to try and return this year and be a part of this team.

Grantland gives us an inside, behind the scenes look at what very well could be Nash’s last season with their documentary series “The Finish Line”. The first episode premiered two weeks ago while episode two just came out yesterday. Both videos are below.

One thing that instantly stands out to me is Nash’s love for the game, his dedication to try and return, and his frustration at what his body is allowing him to do as he tries to work through his physical limitations. He is constantly battling the reality of what he wants to be able to do and what he can actually do. The love is there, the drive is there, and the work ethic — legendary in a way that is similar to what we’ve seen from Kobe — is certainly there too. What’s also there is the genuine good feelings between him and his teammates and the general feeling that everyone simply wants Nash to be able to do finish up his career on his own terms.

For me, these clips simply reinforce that Nash truly is one of the good guys and a guy that you want to root for. Fandom can often be complicated. It can be hard to balance personal rooting interests for individual players you want to see do well against what is best for the team and do it all against the backdrop of what is, in essence, grown men being paid a lot of money to play a child’s game. We see this in these videos about Nash and it makes for great theatre.

Enjoy episodes one and two of Grantland’s The Finish Line. They’re well worth your time.

Darius Soriano

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67 responses to Video: Grantland’s “The Finish Line” Chronicles Steve Nash’s Season

  1. Screw being a Laker team fan — I want to see him in a Laker uniform again.

    The fact that his kids are in L.A. and this is it for him kind of made the second video for me. If he wasn’t human before he sure is now.

    Loved that Tesla he was driving – mine is a dream to drive.

  2. I hope he can still return to the Lakers, cap be damned!

  3. I rooted for him even before he was a Laker, i think Nash is the classiest man in the NBA…

  4. Lets see some more of the Nash-ty. One more season of him in the FB&G really won’t hurt much and having him around the young guys, especially if he can play a bit, has to be good for them. Nash’s willingness to be vulnerable and his open-hearted approach to life, if you are unaffected by it, you best be a supreme talent to be worth having around *cough*Howard*cough*. Nash’s way of being enriches the people around him, and as a fan, I think he enriches my experience.

    I want Nash to come back and have another shot at competing at a high level. Slim may have left the building but I would love Nash to be a part of what the Lakers are trying to build. I want Nash to be a part of the Lakers culture.

  5. Nash sticking around one more year can only help the Laker culture, and engender a professional and positive attitude among his younger teammates.
    He is a true role model in a society that needs all of those it can get.

    In related news, props to Dantoni for having a sense of humor, at least:

    Of any point guard controversy, Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said, smiling.
    “We’ve got a win-loss controversy.”

  6. How about hiring him to be OF coach to teach Farmar and Dante Exem next year?

  7. Like a lot of people, I was psyched about rooting for Nash, and this whole thing has been a massive disappointment. I think there is a strategic case to be made that the Lakers would be just as well-served to leave him on the cap and then let it all come off in 15, rather than carrying 3M a year for three years.

    And yeah, they should strongly consider offering him a job with the org if he wants one and is serious about staying in LA. I would rather see that than see him backing up Chris Paul.

  8. I have always liked the idea of having Steve Nash impart his wisdom onto younger players such as J. Farmar. and K. Marshall. Can you imagine being a point guard in the NBA and learning from Steve Nash? Without a doubt, he’d be a great Offensive Coach and (who knows?) maybe a Head Coach some day. He has the wisdom and the gravitas for it. He would certainly command the players’ respect. The Lakers should think of some way of keeping Nash on as a contributor.

  9. Nash: Agree with rr. Since we are not going to win it all, then let’s let the whole salary roll of in 15 rather than any stretch stuff.

    Renato: Messed up indeed. 11 titles, and the man is not really given is due and his diciples do not benefit from being linked to him. Ironically this will contribute to making Phil’s record 11 titles and 13 trips to the Finals virtually unbreakable.

    rr: The MD offense is not a joke. There are groups that can benefit from it and groups who will not. Deploying it all the time – no matter the roster – clearly does not work. With regard to results: Of course it is talent. Nobody wins without talent. However many lose with it. Phil had better average talent over 20 years than MD has had over his 12 obviously. That said – MD has had “contending” expectations at 3 of 4 stops in the NBA and has yet to reach the Finals. Coaching 1 or 2 years can be a fluke and context plays big role. When comparing careers stretching over decades, then results do matter.

  10. After watching two episodes of Steve Nash Final Days, I wish him and his family the best. I hope he makes the most of his last year and a half while imparting his playing wisdom upon the young PGs and players. In addition, I wish him the best of luck in his part ownership job with the Vancouver Whitecaps after his playing days end.

  11. Phil had better average talent over 20 years than MD has had over his 12 obviously.

    IMO, the difference is far more extreme than that. In Phil’s own words, when asked the key to his success: “I have coached some of the greatest talent ever to play this game.” You have said a few times that you see Jordan and Kobe as two of the greatest three players ever, and MDA got Kobe at age 34. And when Phil lost Jordan, and when he had Kobe between Shaq and Pau, he didn’t win any titles, and, as noted, lost two playoff series to teams coached by Mike D’Antoni.

    I think you need to look at a coach’s record relative to the talent he has worked with, not relative to Phil Jackson’s track record. That is something to take up with Jim Buss, so to speak.

    In that context, MDA’s record is still not that great, but I think that is a better way to look at it than a “count the rings” argument.

    That said, MDA certainly has holes in his coaching game as I said on the other thread.

  12. Count the rings only works for guys like Phil and Pop. Once you have that many – you are great -period Having zero does not mean you are bad or should not be given a chance. Remember I wanted Shaw. I had B Scott on my list. Hollins. JVG. Zero rings between all of them. Come to think of it – what am I thinking? !!!! : )

  13. You must have talent and coaching. Once you have that you need a little luck or a transcendent superstar to get rings. Nobody, repeat nobody, gets rings without all three pieces. The Lakers of the 60s had two transcendent superstars and decent coaching and couldn’t get by Boston.

  14. OK, sorry to be the drunk nasty guy at the wake, but I am not all nostalgic over Nash. He screwed us as a Sun, numerous times, even knocking out of the playoffs harshly in 2006. Since coming to the Lakers he has been nothing but a TROJAN HORSE. We would have more options and money without him.

    I am not saying that Nash came here to harm us. He thought he could help. But, the end result caps his career as a consistent enemies of Lakers’ success.

    I am also not saying he’s not a great player or person, but, this is like celebrating Larry Bird or McHale. I would only do it in secret twenty years after their retirement – even if Bird and McHale came to LA in their last seasons and drained our funds from the side line.

    Sorry to have expressed the reasons we might have mixed feelings in such a stark manner. I feel there is a little truth to my position. And, if no one agrees, well, that’s my misery. Perhaps it is because I didn’t watch the documentary.


  15. With all respect due and given to the the great, and future HOF’er, Steve ‘The General’ Nash, I’d prefer not to see him adorning FB&G next season. I was one who was ecstatic a few summers ago when I heard the news that we had acquired Nash and would’ve loved to see how it could have all played out if he were healthy. Unfortunately, due to injury and age, it just hasn’t worked out for him as a Laker.

    While I commend him for all the work that he’s putting in to sustain what is left of his NBA career, I’m far from optimistic that, at 40 years old, he’ll be able to overcome this injury, that mind you, occurred while he was 38. And while I’m far from a Doctor, I sincerely believe that athletes, at this stage of their careers, don’t come back from nerve root injuries that’s affecting their back, hip and hamstring. Basically, rendering their foundation unstable. I’m of the belief that, deep down, he feels the same way and that he’ll call it a career after this season.

  16. Johnny P: So with you. I don’t care how great of a guy he is–and I’m sure he is. But he’s been nothing less than an utter disaster for this franchise. He needs to retire pronto.

  17. It helps to watch the video(s). Besides, IMO, I would rather take the $9M hit next year than spread it out over three years and I also value his presence on our team. If we are going to have a lot of young guns then Steve and Kobe would be invaluable resources and leaders to allow everyone else to grow up faster.

  18. Agreed Bryan

    Enough with the nice guy stuff. Lots of nice guys out there. I have zero invested in Nash. He will always be that guy running around with Fisher chasing him as a Sun. They knew his time was running out and fleeced the Lakers for 2 drafts.

    Wouldn’t the Lakers like that 1st rounder this year. Chances are it will also be a lottery pick based on the Subs schadule.

    Steve Nash is a nice guy who hurt this team. Steve Blake is a nice guy. At least the Lakers have something for him. DFish was a nice guy. At least they contributed. There is a long list of nice guys. Lakers are about winning and removing Nash will help more then staying.

  19. I’m far from optimistic that, at 40 years old, he’ll be able to overcome this injury, that mind you, occurred while he was 38.
    Even if he doesn’t succeed I have to respect him for trying as hard as he possibly can. That attitude alone is priceless, and I hope some of it rubs off on our younger players.

    Without guys like Kobe and Nash around we might end up like the Cavs or Kings who’ve had lottery pick after lottery pick in recent years and still suck.

  20. Agree with JohnnyP and BryanS a Nash career celebration should be conducted on the Phoenix blog. Nash’s presence on the Lakers has been a disaster. It was a bad trade and I stated it from the gate. Nash was through before he came to the Lakers, now the Lakers have given up valuable draft choices and salary cap space.

    Lakers Nash nightmare ends next year one way or another.

    It was comical Lakers sent washed up Nash and a questionable Kobe to recruit D12 this summer. Glad that dumb move didn’t work either.

    Signing D12 would have been a terrible result.

  21. Another thumbs up for JohnnyP’s perspective.

    Sentimentally, and as an -NBA – fan, I love Nash and agree with the other posters.

    But mostly I’m a Lakers fan.

    So (just as I wanted us to trade one of my fave Lakers ever, Pau, at the deadline), I hope we cut bait on the esteemed Mr. Nash and advance our team forcefully into the future.

  22. Agree with JohnnyP and BryanS a Nash career celebration should be conducted on the Phoenix blog.


    No one is celebrating Nash’s career with the Lakers. Darius was just pointing out that Nash is class act, and we are discussing what to do about him next year and whether he should be offered a job with the org if he really wants to stay in LA. Nash’s jersey will be retired in PHX and he will be feted there, as he should be.


    Glad that dumb move didn’t work either.

    Signing D12 would have been a terrible result.


    One more time: the Lakers are dead last in the NBA in rebounding, have given up more points at the rim than any team in the NBA, are in 14th place in the West, and a lot of fans are hoping the team can draft Joel Embiid and most of the fans are daydreaming about Kevin Love, Houston is 20 games over .500–and we still have a few people trying to sell the idea that Howard’s leaving helped the organization.

  23. Nash: Why do people remember Malone and Payton with disdain? Nash, Payton and Malone had the bulk and the best part of their careers elsewhere. All of them came here “ring chasing”. Malone and Payton at least participated in a Conference title. Nash has participated in very few games. Malone and Payton signed for minimum contracts and sacrificed huge money to come her. Nash has given us a boat anchor of a contract that we have to live with. So OK – Nash is a nice guy and Payton and Malone were not, but let’s look at facts, and not compare personalities.

  24. for what it’s worth, Kareem was the enemy of all enemies when he came to LA. he was one of the main impediments to a title that the Lakers had to deal with from the time he came to the league until the time he came to the Lakers some 6 years later. his Laker teams stunk for quite a while after he arrived too. now he’s one of the most beloved. Nash has done his best to do a good job, he just had his leg broken by a rookie.

    even if the team’s record would have been better without Dwight, it’s been a blessing that he left. i have zero respect for a guy who has a chance to show that he really is a star to build around(in the playoffs), who won’t even make that superhuman effort for just one game. Kobe took the Lakers to the playofdf by himself, then Dwight did nothing. yes, Dwight could help the team this year, but there is someone else who will want to help the team coming sooner or later. no team stays on top forever.

  25. rr,

    I think most guys don’t think that losing Howard was good for the team. He is one of the best centers in the NBA and every team would be better with him. The thing about Howard was that not only he was very hard to root for but we also begged him to stay as if he was a franchise savior. So, while the logical me believes that Howard could be a fundamental piece in returning to the Finals (even with that no-show in last year’s playoffs), the Lakers fan that I am is glad that he’s gone and we can now focus on other players.

    And Steve Nash is a class act that could bring some winning habits (alongside Kobe) to the younger players in our roster. That alone is enough for me wanting him to stay.

    On the stretch provison, I think it’s really debatable if we’re better off paying those 9+M next year or spreading it along 3 years time. I believe it’s better to have him completely off the books in 2015, but I can see the reason to use the strectch provision as well.

  26. JohnnyP, thank you…

  27. It was a bad trade and I stated it from the gate. Nash was through before he came to the Lakers, now the Lakers have given up valuable draft choices and salary cap space.
    At the time it didn’t look that bad. It was a “win now” decision that was meant to help us win more championships before Kobe’s window closed. It’s not like that was a completely unreasonable thought. If everything had panned out the picks would have been the kind of late picks that usually didn’t do much to help us in the years prior to the trade.

    But there’s always a risk in sports and this time it materialized. Even if it was clear that Nash was past his prime no one could foresee what would happen. Just like no one could foresee Kobe’s injuries (or a lot of what else went wrong). And when we draft a player like Embiid we can’t be completely sure, either, that his career won’t take the same course as Oden’s.

  28. Yeah, there are real human beings in the NBA. I’ve been watching for a long time, and believe it or not, whether you’re young or just forgot, there really was a time when winning championships was not the only thing valued in life and sports. I root for the Lakers, but I also root for people. The Lakers are people to me, not just an abstract identity that must win championships in order to fulfill some shallow personal need. I’m now a bigger Nash fan than I was. I have no less respect for him because he happened to make his HOF career with the Suns. I don’t blame him for choosing L.A. as a place to play. I know he would love to contribute big to a Laker championship, but it looks like the chips may not fall that way. He’ll fight to the end, and I hope the Lakers give him every reasonable opportunity to do so.

  29. Nash’s contract is obviously a drag,but it is not killing the team. The contracts killing this year’s team are Pau’s and Kobe’s. Also, Nash is not the EVP of Basketball Operations.

    But I agree about Payton and Malone. Malone was actually the key to the SA series that year, with his D on Duncan.

  30. Lakers are about winning and removing Nash will help more then staying.

    Right now, the Lakers are about rebuilding, and since James isn’t coming here, I think they should probably let Nash’s deal expire and have the cap as clean as possible for 2015, rather than using the stretch on him.

    And, again: the Lakers did not trade a pick to PHX this year. They do owe PHX next year’s pick, and it is Top 5-protected.

  31. Ops sorry about that oh wise man of Laker knowledge.

    That’s why Robert made you our GM!

  32. The Lakers are people to me, not just an abstract identity that must win championships in order to fulfill some shallow personal need. I’m now a bigger Nash fan than I was.
    I agree, and it reminds me of this discussion:

  33. “Lakers are about winning and removing Nash will help more then staying.”

    I disagree with you. We are not going to have cap problems next year and Nash would be the 15th person on the team. Even without playing much – which isn’t a given at all – he is a complimentary piece to Kobe and invaluable to the younger players on the team. He has an instructive personality and we need this.

    If you have been watching games this year, only Farmar even has a clue how to finish a game. Pau is a perennial 2nd banana and the others really haven’t been instrumental in closing games before. We need not only Kobe, but Nash to show the players what to do in these situations. That is more than worth the 15th spot on the team.

  34. Time for a new thread.

    This is another in a line of discussions on ‘advanced stats’. I am on the side of the basketball people running the teams and the basketball people managing the stat heads, not the other way around. SVG puts it quite well.

  35. Nash’s contract is obviously a drag, but it is not killing the team. The contracts killing this year’s team are Pau’s and Kobe’s.
    Maybe their contracts are albatross’ but these two players also won championships for the Lakers. I know everyone in this age thinks like Janet Jackson in her breakout song “What Have You Done For Me Lately” but geez Louise, how can you throw Kobe out with the bathwater because he’s aged for a basketball player, and injured, yet a guy that has not even played an 82 game season with the Lakers gets a buy?

    He does not have the tenure with the Lakers so I will tell you what, why not take Steve’s salary with the Lakers for the next two years $9,300,500, $9,701,000, and Kobe’s new salary 48,000,500, and subtract Steve’s salary from Kobe’s contract. That is 24,000,250-9,300,500=14,699,750 year one of Kobe’s contract and 24,000,250-9,701,000=14,299,250 for the second year of Kobe’s contract. Now instead of Kobe making 24,000,250 a year on his contract he is only making 14,500,000 a year. Kobe the man that has played with splints on his fingers, masks on his face, torn ligaments in his wrist, sprained knees, and made free throws with a torn Achilles, salary palatable to all.

  36. C Hearn,

    You are misunderstanding my post. I said two things about Kobe’s and Pau’s new deals back in 2010:

    1. They were probably a little too expensive and a year too long.
    2. I didn’t blame Old Man Buss for green-lighting the deals.

    So, I am fine with them (not fine with the extension). But the fact is that between them Kobe and Pau take up about 80% of the cap and do not provide value anywhere near that level anymore.

    I also said that the Artest deal was a year too long, but it would be worth it if he got the job done in postseason in 2010–which he did.

  37. It was a bad trade and I stated it from the gate. Nash was through before he came to the Lakers, now the Lakers have given up valuable draft choices and salary cap space.
    At the time it didn’t look that bad. It was a “win now” decision that was meant to help us win more championships before Kobe’s window closed. It’s not like that was a completely unreasonable thought. If everything had panned out the picks would have been the kind of late picks that usually didn’t do much to help us in the years prior to the trade.
    FO gets paid to evaluate trades and signings. Nash trade looked terrible to me the day it was announced. Posted Nash was washed up and was a defensive liability. It was obvious watching his last year in Phoenix objectively. Nash was getting blown by like he was DFish.

    Lakers resign D12? Yes, maybe they would have been slightly better this year, but they weren’t going to win 2014 championship.

    Will D12 be elite in 3 seasons? He is in his prime now.

    Its difficult to root for a D12 with his limited (but improving post up game) and terrible
    free throw shooting.

    Lakers are better off going lotto now and moving closer to assembling their next championship core. Here’s to Embiid, Parker, Wiggins or Randle.

  38. In Nash’s last season in Phoenix he played in the all-star game, posted a true shooting percentage over .620, & assisted on 53% of the Suns’ made baskets when he was on the floor. That was the guy the Lakers thought they were trading for. Obviously it hasn’t worked out, but analysis of what he is today won’t change how good he still was when the Lakers acquired him.

  39. I think the idea when Nash was signed was that he was one of the greatest ever at running an offense, and Howard, who they must have planned on getting, would be killer on the P&R. Nash was still a premier offensive player, providing outside shooting, dribble penetration, free throws, etc., and if healthy, could play good enough team defense with Dwight as the defensive presence behind him. That made good sense, but unfortunately, Howard wasn’t buying, and Nash was badly injured almost immediately and hasn’t recovered. So the Lakers maybe should have known Dwight better, and passed on a fragile, aging PG. Did anyone not have doubts when these players were acquired? It was a risk, but the Lakers were not in a position where, if they wanted to win now, they could be overly fussy with their opportunities.

  40. I agree with most of rfen’s post, and would add that I think that they saw Nash as the bridge between Howard and Kobe, and brought in MDA to try to make all that work. Obviously, it didn’t.

  41. hmmm lots of revisionist history about how ‘washed up” Nash was when the Lakers signed him orginally.

    3 reasons to keep Nash vs waiving and stretching his salary over 3 yrs

    a: by next seasons he comes back fully healthy and is still a good pg for 25 mins a night for the Lakers and they keep him for the season and let him mentor the young guys.

    b. He comes back healthy, plays well and the Lakers flip him to a contending/playoff team for youth/picks etc… plus his expiring contract of 9 mill starts looking good to some teams.

    c. Nash comes back – plays less than ten games or zero once the season has started – and retires for medical reasons – meaning insurance pays out his contract/Lakers get a medical player exception for his roster spot.

    Nash has already stated that if he can’t play for LA next year – meaning not physically fit – then he’ll call it a day and retire. There is no benefit to LA to waiving him now aside from losing 3 mill to a salary hold a year and clearing a roster spot. Not like the Lakers will immediately contend via free agency this summer so better to wait till Oct and make a decision then.

  42. +1 rfen
    – only i’d change the fragile – to fluke injury because thats what it was and could’ve happened to anyone. As for injury prone – going strictly by regular season games Nash and Kobe have logged pretty close to the same – only a 33 game difference after 17 years in the league, so they’re both pretty durable players despite Nashes ongoing back issue – which aside from surgery in 1998 or so – he’s managed very effectively and hasn’t kept him out much.

    *note – I say only regular season games – because as Robert pointed out on a prior post and rightly so, lakers have made more consistent longer playoff runs than Nashes teams(Kobe has played 220 games in playoffs) vs nashes 120 and Nash averages 5 mins a game less than Kobe for their careers. That being said, they’re both better at taking care and preparing themselves to play than 98% of the league

  43. People forget that the season before Nash was traded here he almost singlehandedly brought bad Suns team into the playoffs. I didnt expect that kind of production of him, on paper we had more than enough firepower so he would not need to exert himself that much, i saw him as the general orchestrating everything, i also saw the Gasol-Dwight duo as an unstoppable force add Kobe to the mix and you have a jugernaught. But it wasnt meant to be for a myriad of reasons discussed ad nauseum. Thise were good bold moves that just didnt worked out.

  44. Warren Wee Lim March 3, 2014 at 6:03 am

    We are all geniuses after the fact. Now that you see a struggling and hobbled HOF-er, its easy to say “I always said it was a bad deal to start with” … Do you guys realize we got Nash when we weren’t supposed to, using the Odom TPE which we got from Dallas?

    Darius posted Nash’s stats the season prior to his signing with us. If you are one that predicted that Nash would break his leg on his 2nd game of the season, would struggle to come back and everything else that happened, more power to you and you should have predicted lottery numbers instead. Fact is, NO ONE could have predicted Nash would slow down this way. We knew he would slow down a bit, we knew he would miss the amazing water in Arizona and its medical staff… but the injury, nope. Then again you could always say that an older player (in general) would be more injury-prone than younger players, but that would not represent what happened either.

    I always say Dwight leaving was a blessing in disguise, except right now we’re still seeing the disguise and not seen the blessing just yet.

  45. @WWL “We are all geniuses after the fact.”
    There absolutely was a handful of people that thought the Steve Nash trade was a bad one. They posted quite often here on FB&G about it. They didn’t like the fact that we gave up draft picks, or the fact that we were trading for a guy that was 38 years old. They didn’t like the fact that Nash was a bigger liability on defense than Fish was towards the end. They were worried that Nash’s health would deteriorate once he lost the magic touch of the PHX trainers. Don’t cheapen some of these posters that called this outcome.

    I was not one of them. I was all aboard for the trade because we were potentially getting a HOF pg. We all know how it turned out… I’ll openly say that I have no clue what the best move is, in regards to Steve Nash. It seems like all options have positives and negatives. It’s a huge waste of money if we cut waive him or buy him out, but at least he’s not stopping progress of our young guys. If we use the stretch provision, then it spreads out his cap hit over a longer period. All I know is that the Nash signing was supposed to be a dream, but it has been a huge nightmare.

    For the record- I love the guy, even if he stole one of Kobe’s MVPs. 😉

  46. Darius,

    Nash was getting blown by on defense in Phoenix. His defense was the problem from the day he signed. He couldn’t defend the top point guards in the league.

    No one has questioned his offense, playmaking or personal traits.
    Defense was his problem during his last year in Phoenix …

    It was a bad Lakers decision, said so at the time, and say so now.
    The “Win now” move neglected to consider perimeter defense. Ramon Sessions
    was terrible for perimeter defense too. There were other PG options.
    Lakers chose Nash. It is what it is.

    Its time for Lakers to move forward without Nash on the roster.

    Farmar doesn’t need Nash to “show him how to play ….”

  47. Revisionist? Didn’t take much of a sage to see a 38 year old defensively challenge point guard would not lead Lakers to the championship. There were many besides me who questioned Nash’s ability to impact the game when the trade was made.

    Again, Nash was 38 … give me a break.

  48. There were many besides me who questioned Nash’s ability to impact the game when the trade was made

    Perhaps, but I actually went back and checked the threads on the days of and immediately surrounding the deal. Chris J weighed in with some criticism day of, but while there were varying degres of enthusiasm, there was, other than that, very little in the way of intense, direct criticism of the trade. Aaron was against it as well, although he chimed in a little later.

    The Nash deal was a gamble that didn’t work. Most observers and analysts backed it. I backed it myself, with the caveat that I was concerned about the 2015 pick (I actually re-posted my day-of-trade post here a couple of weeks ago).

  49. Most observers and analysts backed it. I backed it myself, with the caveat that I was concerned about the 2015 pick.
    (When trade was made I was posting to another blog …)

    Yes losing 2015 pick is problematic. Pick is top 5 protected but …
    However, losing a potential high 2015 draft pick may be overcome through player development.

    Xavier Henry?? By 2015 he could be outstanding.

    Lakers need a young player without big contract to make major impact.

  50. Treylake,
    I made my comment about his numbers as a rebuttal to someone who claimed Nash was “washed up” when the Lakers traded for him. If making the all-star game and posting historically great shooting and assist numbers (seriously, go to basketball-reference & look up the assist % numbers) makes a player washed up then I hope all the Lakers’ PG’s are washed up next season and forever more.

    As for his defense. Everyone mentioned his poor D at the time of the acquisition. When I wrote about his defense in the post discussing the trade, I mentioned my concerns too. Though, I will add, I did note that his team defense numbers in Phoenix consistently said that in his last year there the team performed better on D when he was on the floor versus when he was on the bench and that his numbers across the board via Synergy play types were equal to or better than what Ramon Sessions rated out as in his time with the Lakers.

    As I’ve said before, however, it’s fine to bring up now that you were against the trade. In any analysis there’s room for disagreement. But I stand by my initial comments not only about this trade, but in countering this idea that Nash was “washed up” when the Lakers signed him or that he was no longer an impact player. Those things really can’t be debated. He had his deficiencies and had enough age/health concerns to bring out skeptics. Piling on now, however, doesn’t make anyone look smarter, just more correct in how things played out. Though, I’d love to see someone bring up some hard evidence they saw things playing out *this* way with a freak injury that has, essentially, derailed his entire time in LA. I can see folks thinking that his back might flare up or that his skills would erode as he aged. But those things haven’t happened. When he’s been healthy he’s looked like an approximation of the guy he was in his last year in Phoenix. Problem is, he hasn’t been healthy for nearly enough time to really put any sort of value on those minutes.

  51. I respect Nash, I think acquiring him was not a bad idea but due to circumstances it just didn’t work out. I don’t think using the stretch provision is a good idea as it would just drag things out rather then get all the cap space back in 2015. However, as far as the franchise is concerned the best out come would be if Nash retired.

  52. Nash: As a frequent critic of the FO, this deal is not on top of my list. In hindsight it was a very bad deal, but it was simply a gamble that failed. Darius is correct that if you projected Nash to be even 90% of what he was in Phoenix, then the deal would have been reasonable. It turned out he wasn’t. My own issue with the deal was the “3rd” year. All that said, it was still a gamble and I can’t fault the FO for taking gambles. However, and read carefully, the FO is responsible for their overall record with regard to “Gambles”. Any gamble can turn out badly. However if you take 5-6 gambles and lose all of them then you are not a good Gambler. And luck plays a big part – but the larger the sample – the less luck plays a variable. I think this is the crux of the difference between those who criticize the FO and those who defend it. The defenders say that we have had a lot of bad luck (VETO, Inquires, Personalities that don’t mesh), and the critics say we have made a lot of decisions that have turned out badly. As rr likes to say – there are elements of truth to both. However there are no asterisks in the record books for VETOs and Injuries, and results are the only objective way to measure performance.

  53. The reason I was not in favor of the Nash trade was because my big talent judging basketball is my eye for athleticism. Steve Nash’s stats were still good… But that last year in AZ he looked like he took a big step back as an athlete. And old small PGs only get worse. Old school stats added up to about 50 percent of my basketball eye tests, new advanced stats add up to 80 percent of the Aaron eye tests, and someday stats will be every bit as good as the Aaron eye. But that time hasn’t come yet and as I saw it those were some empty stats for Nash that last year with the Suns. He looked to me to be a below average NBA starting PG. I predicted he would be worse the next year and Sessions would be the better PG so there were zero reasons to trade draft picks.

  54. Also to blame the leg injury on his play isn’t entirely accurate. He looked old and slow in the preseason and in game one against the Mavs

  55. Darius,

    Its not piling on to discuss initial reservations about Lakers making trade for 38 yr old player to pay immediate dividends. Hopefully, Lakers will consider Nash experience if a 38 yr old Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, etc … becomes available.

    Not saying a 38 yr old Lebron can’t be the man ….
    … am saying be careful if you expect him to be the man because he was the man.

  56. But the Nash trade didn’t kill this franchise for this three year period. Dwight Howard going from 26 PER to 20 PER (superstar to fringe all star) because of his back surgery, killed this team. If the Lakers had Magic Dwight they go to the NBA Finals and Kobe isn’t playing 48 min a game to snap his achilles and ruin his career. Steve Nash at best would have been a average PG last year. I think even the Lakers knew that. They were counting on Dwight to be a game changer along with Kobe. And let’s not forget Pau looked washed up last year. Steve Nash was slotted to be the Lakers fourth best player a year ago not the savior.

  57. Warren Wee Lim March 3, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Ya’ll forget he was playing under Mike Brown too.

  58. Amongst the MVP’s and other great players in the past few decades, there have been very few players who have been as over rated as Nash. On the defensive side, his teams had to cover for his defensive deficiencies by having his PF guard opposing PG’s. That’s a fairly large liability on one end of the floor.

    On the offensive side, as great as Nash was, his FG% and assists skyrocketed after joining MDA’s system in Phoenix. Raymond Felton and Jeremy Lin played like all stars under MDA, and even our own Kendel Marshall (who had a rep for being unable to shoot) led the league in assists and 3 point % when getting big minutes under MDA. In other words, PG stats under this system are heavily inflated and have to be taken with a grain of salt.

    It was not difficult to predict that Nash would continue to struggle defensively after joining the Lakers. It was also not difficult to predict that his offense would take a big hit without the SSOL system, let alone a system like the Princeton offense.

    I think the media has had a love affair with Nash, and it’s easy to see why. He’s intelligent, unselfish, articulate…just a great guy…. his offense was exciting and aesthetically pleasing to watch…..and wow, those stats. But, because of this love affair, Nash’s deficiencies in his game were largely ignored (as opposed to someone like Kobe, or even Westbrook, whose supposed deficiencies are overly focused on by the media)……and as a result, many of us naively thought that the over rated Nash could be that dream PG to lead us to a championship.

  59. rr-duly noted.

  60. When a guy is in line to be 3 or 4th all time in assists, it’s a but disingenuous to say it’s only because he played under ssol system. Under that logic should we then discount Stocktons # records because he pnr ed every single play w Malone, or because the Lakers played showtime that Magics numbers should have an asterisk?

  61. However, as far as the franchise is concerned the best out come would be if Nash retired.
    What exactly would we gain from that? Does anybody have specific scenarios in mind?

    I’m under the impression that if the FO is going to target a major free agent in 2015 Nash’s contract isn’t really all that important. It might be more relevant if the FO wants to put together a contender for next season, but I don’t know if that’s realistic.

  62. As per twitter – MDA saying today that both Nash/Kobe likely done for season – only 6 weeks left.

  63. Agreed that Nash in his last Phx season was still a very good player. I was overwhelmingly in favor of the move. The only (very slight) reservation I had: I thought some were seriously underestimating the Suns’ training staff. There had been examples of players who had health problems elsewhere, excelled in Phoenix, and struggled again with health problems post-Phoenix. Still, it was a small risk and overall I thought the move was definitely worth it. It didn’t work out. I tend to be sentimental – Nash is a class act, and I’d prefer he not retire. For basketball reasons, his $9 million will preserve more cap space for the 2015 class. I’m seriously worried about our FO overpaying this year for a guy like Luol Deng. So for both sentimental and basketball reasons, I prefer he stay on and expire in 2015.

    Health wise: you can make a legitimate case that the leg injury was a freak injury unrelated to his chronic back issues. I’d argue there’s also a legitimate case that his poor recuperation from the break could a lot to do with his back issues and chronic imbalances. The nerve irritation that keeps flaring up could very well be due to a deteriorating back. The Suns training staff were experts in anticipating and correcting tiny core imbalances prior to any large-scale injury. I don’t entirely buy the opinion that Nash’s health problems since joining the Lakers are entirely separate from his chronic issues, but we simply don’t have enough information to tell.

  64. As far as the advanced stats argument – it’s a very valuable tool that has shortcomings, like all others. My problem is when people who are not well-versed in statistics fail to understand the shortcomings. You’re limited by the available data. The Hot Hand presentation this year is a perfect example. For several years now, TrueHoop has been banging on the “Hot Hand doesn’t exist” drum. That was the conclusion based on the available papers at the time, but the SportsVU cameras have opened up new data and ways to control variables, and a new paper was published refuting the previous theory.

    It’s fine – and even intelligent – to base your opinions off the analytical tools available to you, but my problem is when people fail to understand their shortcomings. Several blog articles (TrueHoop, if memory serves) were almost condescending towards people who believed in the Hot Hand Theory, without understanding that their data was not absolute. Now they end up with egg on their face after the latest data has been published.

  65. Snoopy2006-The nerve irritation that keeps flaring up could very well be due to a deteriorating back.
    True. A problem in one’s neck radiates down the back to the legs. Any weakness in the core back muscles causes inflammation in the structure, engendering an imbalance and degenerative functionality of the disc. As I understand it, anyway.

  66. jerke: I would agree with your point about Stockton + Nash + Magic, becasue as you know – I am results oriented. I don’t care what system they played in – those three are amongst the greatest ever at their position. However, If you want to use the facts and the record then let’s use the facts and the record : ) “Context” can be a very slippery slope indeed.

  67. When the Lakers acquired Nash, I thought about his age and the image I had of him the previous season, based on the few Suns games I saw. I liked that the Lakers got him, could see some very good possibilities, figured he had what it takes between the ears… but, and it was strictly a gut feeling, I really wondered how much longer he could survive, physically, in the NBA. For NBA standards, he did look a little fragile and also over-matched. Seeing now how tough and dedicated he is, I would not have thought him so fragile. I think maybe it’s just bad luck that he suffered this particular injury. If healthy, I think he has what it takes to, maybe not make a bad team good, but to make a good team better.

    I wasn’t counting on a Laker parade. I also wondered about Howard. I wasn’t sure how he’d recover from his back injury, and with him, athleticism is everything. I was never impressed with his offense, and also not sure of his smarts or character. Dwight now looks like a good acquisition for the Rockets. At the time, I thought the Lakers were doing the best they could under the circumstances, and actually pretty impressive to assemble that much talent. Everything that could go wrong went wrong.