StatsCube: The End of the Nash Streak

Wilt Chamberlain (1959-60 through ’65-66) and Michael Jordan (’86-87 through ’92-93) each led the league in scoring for seven straight seasons.

But those runs at the top of the league aren’t as impressive as the run that Steve Nash had been on.

For nine straight seasons — three in Dallas and six in Phoenix — Nash has led the No. 1 offense in the league. Even in 2005-06, when Amar’e Stoudemire missed 79 games, the Suns ranked first in offensive efficiency. And even in 2008-09, when the Suns’ offense was supposedly bogged down by Shaquille O’Neal, they ranked No. 1 in offensive efficiency.

This season, though, Nash’s run at the top of the offensive rankings has come to an end. With one game to play, the Suns rank ninth offensively, scoring 107.0 points per 100 possessions. This season’s No. 1 offense will either be the San Antonio Spurs (109.55 through Monday) or the Denver Nuggets (109.52).

But instead of lamenting how the Suns have fallen off this season, we’d rather marvel at how remarkable Nash’s last nine seasons were.

The run began in Nash’s second season as the full-time starter in Dallas. Nash has not only led the No. 1 offensive team each season, but he’s led the five best offenses of the last 20 years (when you compare the team’s efficiency with the league average).

Steve Nash’s team offensive efficiency, seasons as a full-time starter

Season Team Off. Eff. Rank Lg. Eff. Diff. L20 Rank
2000-01 Dallas 104.5 4 100.2 +4.3 61
2001-02 Dallas 109.5 1 101.6 +7.9 3
2002-03 Dallas 108.1 1 100.7 +7.4 8
2003-04 Dallas 109.6 1 100.0 +9.5 1
2004-05 Phoenix 111.9 1 103.1 +8.8 2
2005-06 Phoenix 109.4 1 103.4 +5.9 23
2006-07 Phoenix 111.4 1 103.7 +7.7 5
2007-08 Phoenix 111.2 1 104.7 +6.5 15
2008-09 Phoenix 111.2 1 105.4 +5.7 25
2009-10 Phoenix 112.7 1 104.9 +7.8 4
2010-11 Phoenix 107.0 9 104.5 +2.5 143

Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Lg. Eff. = League average
Diff. = Difference between team efficiency and league average
L20 Rank = Rank over last 20 seasons (since 1991-92)

This season’s fall-off isn’t exactly Nash’s fault. His individual numbers are down, but just slightly. The Suns are still a great offensive team (better than the Spurs and Nuggets) with Nash on the floor, scoring 111.1 points per 100 possessions in his 2,465 minutes.

The problem is that the Suns’ offense has been pretty awful when Nash has been off the floor, scoring just 99.9 points per 100 possessions. That’s equivalent to the fourth-worst offense in the league.

Last season, the Suns scored 115.0 points per 100 possessions with Nash on the floor and 107.8 with him on the bench. There was a drop-off, but their second unit was still pretty potent.

***

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

85 Comments

  1. Hurnicane says:

    I could see Nash in Miami. This guy hustles and would probably be one of the few point guards to keep up with D’Wade sprinting down the court to block a stolen shot. Mr. Nash needs a good, physical defense to play with. All the HEAT need is a little more direction on offense and a little Phoenix dry heat. IF YOU WANT YOUR RING STEVE, COME TO MIAMI!!!

  2. rein says:

    look at amare now. a perimeter jump shooter. LOL. with nash and felton out, he’s nothing. too bad billups is not a point guard, he is a POINTS guard

  3. TrueNashFan says:

    This shows just how great he really is at making other players better. He sacrifices his ppg to make the team better and plays through many injuries because he knows how important he is to the team. The Suns have been my favorite team ever since I first started watching the NBA in 2006 and it was all because of Nash.

    Not the most athletic or strongest player but definitely one of the toughest and hard working ones. Along with being humble, loyal, and just a good person. Just a few reasons why he is and always will be my favorite player OAT. When Amare left I knew the Suns chance at another playoff run was farfetched but the Suns were in the race all the way till the end.

    And the fact that Nash hasn’t asked for a trade or anything like that makes me admire him more. Definite HoF regardless of rings, though one wouldn’t hurt. The Suns should do him a favor and trade him to a competitor but we all know to these owners its just a “business” but its “disloyal” for a player to ask for a trade.

  4. BullsMania says:

    Steve Nash without a doubt should deserve a ring, I mean… look at Luke Walton! That dude is just sitting there all day and only plays about 4-9 min, and then what?

    PG’s of all time Magic, D.Williams,Nash and just you wait! and up coming legend, Derrick Rose. props to you also Westbrook

  5. steve nash is the reason why amare is worth 100 million than he is actually worth

  6. lol whats wrong with Nash being a canadian? canadians are great, when they migrate they work and pay taxes unlike those mexicans who come here to breed like rats, leech on welfare, well except for their awesome pot exports, they comprise 60% of the population in us prisons

  7. one of those great careers and players only to be ruined by Stern’s politics

    • media head says:

      mr. stern’s politics won steve back to back mvp’s, remember, prolly the most contraversial mvp ever

  8. rhys says:

    come to chi-town for 2 years… come of the bench and win titles….. if hes coming of the bench he will be able to play for longer :) they need a better back up PG

  9. retard says:

    wow stupid steve nash cant win a ring by himself…. he needs a team, and dont gimme amare. amare sucks he was only good wit nash. he had a chance with dallas but all he had was dirk

  10. Vancouver B.C should get a NBA team, so Nash can finish his career here. We love Nash in Vancouver. Anyway I really think he needs a ring more than anyone else. Love to see him finish his career in PHX, but he will have much much better chance to get a WELL DESERVE ring from a contender team.

  11. Dav3 says:

    Steve Nash either did one of 2 things if he was your teammate: He made you a better player and or he made you look better than you really were. How many players do that? The list is only a handful.

  12. Cha says:

    I hope he goes to a contender. The Suns at least owes it to their face of the franchise. MV-Steve, GO TO ORLANDO, THEY NEED A PLAYMAKER !

  13. rtdinsd says:

    Wow, that’s really impressive. And during this streak, how many NBA Championships did he lead his team to?

  14. Tenki says:

    Steve Nash could use a ring to cap off a career that has been legendary. If I was a Phoenix fan, I would let him decide where he would want to finish his career ( although it would be real hard for me) and hope for the best for him, because Nash has given glorious years to Phoenix.

  15. breen says:

    wish nash find the right chemistry to win in a championship

  16. Kenny says:

    Steve Nash is really an awesome player and it’s really a pity that haven’t won any rings =(

  17. paul3939 says:

    lebron for mpv!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. J-Jo says:

    The Suns probably would’ve won the championship in 2007 if the league hadn’t screwed him over, and handed the series to the dirty underhanded Spurs.

  19. Sun4Stevenash says:

    Best PG in the league and deserves a ring and is a shame suns are not playing in the playoffs this year. Amare went for a bigger contract instead of possibly taking a lower payroll and becoming a finals worthy team…sure do miss stat in an orange jersey. Hopefully something good turns out in the draft and so on in years to come for the rebuilding suns with 2 of their best players almost 40.. this ball club deserves a ring aswell not just nash, but sure would be great to see us get him with an amazing player like steve!

  20. think says:

    I think that Nash still has 2 good years left in him. The problem right now is the lack of talent around him (he wouldve been able to carry the team when he was younger), that the next best player is an aging Grant Hill.

    Although I’d really love to see Nash end his career in PHX, but he’d have a shot to win his ring with another team. He still has that capability of transforming a good team into a contender. Bringing him to Philadelphia or Atlanta (or any other athletic and young team that needs leadership) could definitely change the tides of the league.

  21. justin says:

    Steve Nash is amazing. Please go to the pistons and turn that bunch of misdirected talent in to a winning team..dreams are free

  22. Youme says:

    Nash is a brave man!!

  23. Ventruck says:

    One of the things special about Nash is that he doesn’t have a ring. Of course I’d support his cause as he’s worthy to play in the Finals, but after all these years to working his butt off harder than most players, he didn’t seem to hint at quitting through the frustration of never getting a ring.

    I would consider Nash relatively gifted – whether that gift be his talent or work ethic. He still puts up ridiculous stats; and you can’t even tell he’s 37, winning PG matchups nearly all the time. All men fear of fading as they get older. Seems like Nash is more concerned about doing something about it instead of worrying. He’s a well-defined athlete.

  24. Phamie says:

    Steve if you read this, pls stay with the suns till you retire, your no.1 here in the philippines. We Love the suns and we
    hope to see you playing in 4 more years with the suns ofcourse. WE LOVE YOU IDOL!!! You are a true legend just like Michael Jordan.

  25. Me says:

    Why is everyone worried about this article being Nash compared to Jordan? I know why….but that will cause other conversations that have nothing to do with this. Anyway I hate when people compare players to other players at different positions…it just doesnt work. And Nash is better than all other PGs. I only believe that Pistol Pete may have been better though I havent got to see full games. Ring talk is irrelevant…I wont waste my time listing players who started and did nothing, or never seen the floor but still have at least one ring….Ill let you do that. Just watch the game…try playing it also because that helps you understand.

  26. NashNeedsAring says:

    Hey NBA King. Nash a loser? He has two MVP’s and you don’t. King? Tsss

  27. PHX PHL says:

    Nash is the face of the Suns. If he really wanted a ring, he would have wanted to move after Amare moved, but he is a team player. He was drafted by the Suns, I hope he would retire and, possibly, coach the Suns someday. That would be awesome seeing Steve develop young point guards of the future as a coach.

  28. Champ says:

    Nash is not a top five all time point guard. He is not better than the best point guard ever (Magic Johnson), John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, or Isiah Thomas. There are a few others I coud throw in there but I just needed 5 to prove my point. Great on Offense and an even better humanitarian, but HORRIBLE defender.

    • media head says:

      thank you, and all those dudes at least went to a nba finals, nash is great but maybe the most overrated ever

  29. Lee says:

    nash is the man

  30. WOW says:

    Stve, if you ever happen to read this plz go to a better team.As you being my 2nd favorite player in league, plz i would love to see you win a ring

  31. GhiaElcid says:

    we will be forever grateful for all those 9 fun years of being #1. you will have our support the rest of your Hall of Fame career. thank you stevie! =)

  32. Phamie says:

    Steve Nash is the BEST Ever for me… Age doesn’t matter for steve, he’s the reason why i love NBA.
    Next season i know steve can still play, GO STEVE!!!!!!!

  33. johnson says:

    steve nash is better than derrick rose

  34. Prince 242 says:

    To reiterate what “Point Guards” said: John Stockton, Jason Kidd & Steve Nash are all great point guards without rings. Definite Hall of Famers. Just these guys weren’t on the right team unfortunately. They all played great ball but came up short. This is the same reason why Lebron left the Cavs……you can be the best in the league at what you do but this is a team game…you cant do it on your own and unfortunately Stockton, Kidd & Nash didn’t have enough weapons on their team to get the ring despite having Malone (stockton), Keith Van Horn, Kittles & Martin (Kidd) and Amare (Nash). Maybe what Lebron did should have been done ages ago.

  35. k1ng_ara says:

    Nash is a true warrior, everything he has accomplished in his time in the league is amazing and hes still not done. his leadership and skill base is something any up and coming point guard would wish for…i take my hat off to you mr Nash.

  36. Ed says:

    A lot of good points…Smitty I’d agree with you that Nash obviously can’t be compared to Jordan, that’s just a bit of hyperbole to get you reading the article. However, I think it’s important to recognise that Nash’s Suns played some of the best offensive basketball that’s been played in the league, the 2006-7 Suns in particular were fantastic. As for not winning, no they never got to the Finals but they reached Western Conf finals as well as the fact that the 2006-7 semis between Phoenix and San Antonio was clearly the true finals that year, with an underwhelming Jazz and Cavs team awaiting the victor. Suns funs will argue to the grave that the Suns would have won the title were it not for the Horry hip check. I don’t think that the Suns not winning a title will reflect on Nash’s legacy to a great extent in the end, the fact that his teams were so ferociously effective despite the lack of D and the ego clashes he had to deal with (remember the Marion-Stoudemire alpha dog squabbling?) speak volumes. In years to come I think Nash will be seen as a guy who could easily have won a title by acting the part of a typical NBA star and sulking until he was traded to a contender but chose the high road instead. The manner in which he’s conducted himself this year alone, whilst playing at an All Star level, proves his greatness beyond doubt. With regards to the articles claims about Nash’s offensive skills, I don’t think there’s been a better PG other than Magic at that end of the floor.

  37. christian says:

    still and always will be my idle.

  38. Point Guards says:

    John Stockton-Jason Kidd-Steve Nash anyother PG that is better than them? But 3 words……HALL OF FAME.

  39. LOL says:

    How can ring proove anything… You can get the ring by warming the bench for champion but that doesnt proove your skill or greatness. Winning championship is a team effort.

  40. Krespino says:

    Best alltime player without a ring I guess…

  41. Smitty says:

    Folks, I’m a Nash fan, but this article is a bit over the top. Comparing Nash to Wilt or Jordan is offensive (pun intended). Offensive efficiency is important, but no rings, no defense and serving as no real threat to leading teams in the West (or East even in the playoffs, since his great offensive teams never ended up in the finals) makes all this questionable. At best, the Mavs and Suns played offense well – okay very well, but they laid down defensively. As Charles said years ago, “Any knuckle head can score…” I was on the Nash train long before all of this stat stuff about scoring, and being the best player for one’s team…etc. He has major game. But the article leaves a lot of questions for me. Jordan was a defensive stopper and scoring leader. Other top PGs eat Steve’s lunch whenever they choose. And Wilt – personal exploits included – was more formidable than we could imagine having not seen him play. Nash is and will be considered a great PG, but this offensive stuff is a bit “mis-leading.” And shame on a sports columnist to lead so many astray with this focus on scoring alone. What did all amount too? Nice fantasy numbers for us, and no rings in sight for the Suns…

    But I do think Steve is greater humanitarian, which is way more important than any of this.

    • awesomeman says:

      extremely ignorant to the fact that they DID play defense. they just had a HIGHER pace, (more possessions, more chances for other team to score). Nash isnt as terrible on defense as everyone says. Hes at an acceptable level.

      and are we still talking about rings – player skill? for god’s sake people, a ring is earned by a TEAM, not an individual player. If he had Pau, I am sure that Nash could have 10 rings. Kobe is no where near as EFFICIENT as Nash. I say EFFICIENT.

      • whoa whoa says:

        I say that Nash had one year that it was possible when they lost to the spurs in the western conferance finals there was alot of contraversy on that one injuries and suspended players helped the spurs get through but there is some truth that he really shouldnt be compared to michal jordan really and now you compared him to kobe…. ya just stop. i love steave nash the best true point guard over the past 10 years probably i would agree to that i hope they trade him to a title contender so he can get his ring

  42. Slikk says:

    Nash is a tru pg…does tru pg things like distributing the baskteball. If he really wanted to i think he could average 20+ ppg cuz everybody know he can go off scoring..but he’s all about TEAM and making the players around him shine, while shining himself at the same time. I always admired him an J Kidd both for that. Performin the intended role of the pg: DISTRIBUTE and RUN THE OFFENSE.

  43. Björn says:

    The best pure pointguard ever..
    One of the best shooters ever.. 1st in freethrow all time and top ten 3p…

    He got skills!

  44. Nash come to the Heat says:

    I would love to see Nash, Dwade & LBJ combo, fast break every time

  45. LakersWillWin says:

    Hard to believe at his age the level he still plays at. Nash deserves a ring.

  46. Nash come to the lakers says:

    I would love to see Nash, Odom & Shannon Brown Combo, fast break every time

  47. bhampbaby says:

    i could see why nba king would say that…. he doesnt have a ring to prove anything, but the mans talent cant be denied hes a legendary guard def a hollafamer and at that he canadian lol

  48. Baller says:

    Steve Nash is a model NBA citizen. The guy signed a contract and willing to honor it by going out and playing hard every single night. He’s probably one of the very few (i.e. handful) players who don’t take nights off even if they know that the odds are stacked against them. Most players would have either demanded a trade or just stopped playing.

  49. samuell says:

    nba KING ur a king of stupidity!

  50. G Hud says:

    Good point Tek, nash is a great overall player that just did his thing and led his team

  51. Tek says:

    One of the very few all around good guys and basketball greats in the NBA, if you have something bad to say about nash then you aren’t a true fan of the league anyways.

  52. NBA KING says:

    steve nash is a loser, he will always be

    • Tek says:

      Besides the fact that you’re just trying to get a rise out of people like a lil kid, if you’re going to post something ignorant please explain your stupidity.

    • LakersWillWin says:

      Oh yeah real loser.
      Look at how good he’s made everyone who has played with him.
      He made Amar’e that 100 mill contract.
      You’re an idiot. NBA king my @$$

    • think says:

      and what have you done with your life? LOL

    • NASH RULES says:

      NBA king, you are so ignorant. You probably suck at Basketball, but if you play with Nash, He’ll make you better!!

      That’s why Nash is so great!!! he’s done nothing except help his team year after year, and he’s done this for his entire career. Not to mention, Nash is so fun to watch!!!

    • 100.1 PPG says:

      NBA KING’s new name is officially NBA JESTER.

    • #TeamHeat says:

      He is just saying that to make people mad. Just ignore the ignorance.

      NASH to me is the best true PG in the NBA. D.ROSE, D.WILL, and WESTBROOK will be the future of the league, but NASH is the best. He makes all of his teammates better, and he almost took a mediocre/subpar team to the PLAYOFFS. A 2-Time [back-to-back] MVP, and a perfect example of what a PG should be.

      • media head says:

        perfect example on the offensive end more like, his d has always been another story…

  53. DeFYTiME PHX13:33 says:

    where Steve Nash happens…

    • prix says:

      Suns will be better next season…Nash, Hill and Vince…still I’m a solid fan… I know how to appreciate great players with true skills and talents…not politics and dirty playing

  54. TLP says:

    he’s the reason im playing basketball right now!!

  55. agree wid ya says:

    Agreed — Nash is AWESOME! Plus, he is a funny guy off the court.

  56. Cris Jake Alvez says:

    The best point guard for me., Congratz MVP

  57. One of the greatest point guard / leader who led his team in NBA history! I salute you Mr. Nash! :)