Nash Story Looking Same Old, Same Older

VIDEO: Steve Nash dishes to Pau Gasol for the finish

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And in this corner, 13.8 billion years old, wearing a white robe and carrying an hour glass, with a record of a gazillion-and-0, the undisputed, undefeated heavyweight champion of the universe: Father Time.

Good luck, Steve Nash.

While from a viewpoint of perseverance it is admirable that the 39-year-old point guard continues to grind away on the practice court, in training rooms and occasionally even in NBA games, perhaps Nash is inching closer to the inevitable day that he understands the only way to make the pain cease is to stop banging his head against the wall.

Another season in Los Angeles — his 18th in the league — is already taking shape as another fractured fairytale that might only wind up rivaling a year ago in production and frustration.

Three games into the Lakers season of waiting for Kobe Bryant to perform his on walk-on-water miracle of treating Achilles’ tendon surgery as if it were no more than a bad cold, Nash is neither completely on the shelf or fully in the picture. A bruised quadriceps gave him a seat on the bench as Jordan Farmar ran the offense down the stretch in the opening night win over the Clippers. He sat out the next night at Golden State. Then he could provide no help at all in the fourth quarter of another game that slipped away to the Spurs.

Not surprisingly, Nash is beginning to question himself and expressed those concerns to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

“The nerves in the broken leg, then the nerves in the back and hamstring (last season)…I’d never felt my nerves in my life. I feel them every day now,” Nash said late Friday night. “So my body’s different. I worked incredibly hard this summer and got myself back where I have a chance. I felt good tonight; I could’ve had a good game.

“The want is there; I’m still enjoying the challenge. It comes from within. I know what I’ve been through; I know how old I am and the miles I have on the body, but I still take the challenge. And there are still things I can build on and can improve.”

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has called it “a process” and that’s exactly what it is — the aging process that is both inevitable and cruel to those who won’t acknowledge it. Just look at the Botoxed faces of some of those celebrities that sit courtside at Staples Center.

It might have seemed like a good idea to give up two first-round picks and two second-round picks for the former two-time MVP a year ago when the Lakers were assembling their fantasy team that also included Dwight Howard. But that was before a broken leg limited him to just 50 games and Nash was never able to find any kind of rhythm in an offense that couldn’t find an identity.

The thought was that with Howard gone, with Pau Gasol back in the middle, with D’Antoni given the free rein to run the offense that he knows and likes and with Nash given an entire summer to rest and rehab and then work his soon-to-be-40-year-old body back into shape, that he could look like his old self again.

Trouble is, all that seems to be there is an older self, which is not so much a failing, only reality. For D’Antoni to keep believing that all will be well again in fourth-quarter clutch situations as soon as Nash is back to form is denial. It would take the Hubble Telescope to see those 2005 and 2006 MVP seasons from here, and there is precious little reason based on the history of mankind to believe Nash can come within light years when the nicks and twinges are already evidence of a betraying body again less than a week into the season.

“I am 39. I’ll be 40 in a few months,” Nash said. “So you have to adapt your mindset to the new challenge. This is where I’m at. I have to get on top of my body, and I’ve got to let my game come around.

“It’s going to take more patience than usual, and it’s going to take maybe less work and more rest. I really have to check myself a lot as far as my typical approach to things to not overdo and not put myself back because I’m overdoing it or I’m trying for too much.

“This is where I am. I’ve got to accept some of that — and not give an inch when it comes to my belief.”

Tell that to the guy standing over in the other corner waiting for the bell for the next round to ring, tightening that belt on his unbeaten record.

52 Comments

  1. Jeremy says:

    I think the second unit for LA is looking pretty good so far. Gasol seems more serious, and motivated thus far. I loved watching Steve through his time with the Suns and Dallas. Too bad he won’t win a championship, but the heart and fight and brilliance he showed in those runs with the suns, the seven second offense were brilliant. I wish him the best, and I hope he has enough time left for some flashes of the old brilliant player he was. You gotta think he’s be able to mentor a young point guard, with his mind for the game. I wish him well with what will be a hard reality that is coming soon.

  2. dmh says:

    I am going to compare this situation to an even better pg that retired last year. You may now know him as the Brooklyn Nets head coach, Jason Kidd….. KIdd knew that his body was giving into father time. That playoff series last year proved that the 82 game schedule was way too much, even if he did switch positions to ease the pressure of guarding the quicker pgs that exist more and more in today’s NBA. Kidd did the right thing for the Knicks by retiring. I think that Udrih at this point has more to offer, in spite of the lack of accolades.

    Nash has had a full career. He has MVP’s, allstar appearances, All-NBA accolades, and many other successes in his career. Just like the many legends that were denied the championship experience during the MJ era, there is no shame in retiring without that ring (although its nice). Last season in a futile effort to save the guy’s legs, Woodson had Kidd come off the bench a handful or so times and tried (but failed to due to injuries) to keep the guy fresh for the playoffs. That is the approach the lakers need to take, regardless whether they are playoff material or not. At this point, Nash would be foolish to do what Kidd did as 9 million is a heck of a lot more than the 2 million and chunk change that Kidd gave up. I guess there if I were Mike D’Antoni (which I think he is not smart enough to guage his players and do this based on history but, nevertheless…) I would consider doing the combination between sitting Nash in back to backs as well as possibly bringing Nash off the bench. Nash is still a talent but, I think that the limit may be at around 15-20 min a game at this stage of his illustrious career. It is not worth it to waste what is left of his career by overdoing it with Nash.

  3. mannie says:

    Thank you Steve Nash for declining the 34 million offer from the raptors. We can see it very clearly that you knew of your limited physical capabilities and it would be wrong to take all that money to seat on the banch

  4. mg says:

    more like fran blindbury

  5. Brent says:

    It bums me out that Nash will most likely never win an NBA title.

  6. J says:

    he will be 49 before he retires

  7. dustydreamnz says:

    Apparently Nash is a good footballer. Pretty much everyone is well past it at 39, 37 seems to be a common age to retire from the NBA but it varies depending on the player/injuries/attitude/goals.

  8. lala land says:

    lakers are making the playoffs this season no doubt.with this new bench team…lakers can get 4th or 5th on western conference ranking. they are playoff proof.. time will tell

  9. Gillsy says:

    That is true his knowledge is good and in a few years he will be on the sidelines somewhere. The Lakers don’t worry about the picks they will just try to buy themselves a new team as usual. But as they found out with Howard this year that a big fat cheque is not always enough.

  10. Lakers Fan says:

    No disrespect to Nash, there’s no doubt he’s 1 of the best PG’s in the NBA, but now he’s just a 2nd stringer at best. To me his value to the Lakers’ is to part wisdom and knowledge to the upcoming players (if there are any). Kupchak and Jim Buss screw this 1 as they gave up so many draft picks, choosing the wrong coach, relying too much on all star power and ignoring the weak bench.

  11. dpmac says:

    hey Jason, if harden could have guarded LeBron, wade or chambers okc would have a title.

  12. Gillsy says:

    It looks like a few people are starting to show that father of time is creeping up. Nash looked old last season and was injury prone. I think this will be his last season, the main reason Stockton was still able to play at this age is that he had never really been injured in his career. I wont be surprised if a few guys like Nash, KG, O’Neil, Camby will retire this year. Like KG he has so far shot about 3 or 10 every game he has played, not rally like him.

  13. okc2014 says:

    The Lakers need to retire.

    • Jason says:

      Good luck this season, maybe Durant will grow a pair, Westbrook will stop chucking up 30 shots a night, and Harden will magically reappear in an OKC uniform!

  14. WOW says:

    Why do half of NBA.com writers talk about Kobe coming back as if it is to be comparable to walking on water? Ive seen Kobe his ENTIRE career and I can’t wait to see what the idiots, who enjoy criticizing players, have to say once he is back in proper form. You get paid to watch spectacular athletes pour their soul into a game and you have the audacity to say stupid stuff like that..that’s pathetic. I am no Lebron fan but I never in my right mind would want him to have an injury that could cause him to not play the same again. I appreciate the hard work and effort everyone in the NBA puts in. You get paid by the NBA Blinebury, have some damn respect.

  15. arrcue says:

    Way to point out the most obvious. We know Nash is old and Kobe is getting older. These guys can still ball. They might have to make adjustments as far as health is concerned but why such negativity towards age? The older guys might have to strategize a little. Ray Allen knows this very well as he gets older. But anyways in case anyone didn’t know, Father Time is the champion and undefeated. Yeah Father Time, once again Father Time. Captain obvious is obvious. lol

  16. pacquiaoverated says:

    melo or any star will never play for the Lakers as long as Mr ballhog is there, only former stars who are going 40s willing to be with super ballhog who is only after scoring as much points he could that’s why he got that 81points game

  17. And 1 says:

    Well Steve and lakers have this season to figure this out. Either he shows some sign that he can still be some kind of a factor or he retires, this is his last year of his contract. I do hope he gets better and can help the lakers have a good year. Time will tell

    • BigBoy says:

      he’s one of two players signed for the 14-15 season. this is the 13-14 seasons. pay attention before you post facts like that.

  18. vincent says:

    too bad he signed that two year extension with phoenix that turned out to be a waste cuz amare left. imagine if he joined lakers back then…

  19. LT says:

    We’re only obsessed with 30 and 40 because of our base 10 numbering system. Just let him heal and limit his minutes. It’s still much better better math to play an efficient older player than an inefficient younger one. Just because he can’t be 2005 MVP steve nash doesn’t mean he couldn’t win a championship playing limited minutes on a good team.

  20. 3ptdagger says:

    I turn 42 in a few weeks. I guess I should just climb in my coffin and roll over now because it’s all over for me. Kobe should throw in the towel too; his basketball life is pretty much over at 35 and with the injury he should be joining Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in the next Bucket List movie.

  21. I8A4RE says:

    Charmers and cole are average at best, only have good shooting % because they’re always wide open due to big 3 being double teamed

  22. iamsupertesla says:

    Come to Miami Heat .. as simple as that.You will be a great teacher to the 2 championship pedegree PG in Chalmers and Cole.They are champs yes,but there are still a lot to improve on those two.And no other PG as of now in the league have the right to do that than the two-time MVP,a selfless superstar,a hypeless star on your own and one of the great PG the this world have seen in you Mr.Nash.Come to Miami!

    • Stupid says:

      I swear Heat fans are the stupidest creatures on this planet. As if he can just get up, give up his LA contract and join the Heat. Every post about a star FA has 1 moron Heat fan showing how stupid they are.

    • You realise the Heat can’t clear the cap space – literally, cannot take him within the rules – and that by the time his present contract expires, he’ll be 41? You did? Good, just checking, coz it looked like you were being an idiot.

  23. S.T says:

    I hope Nash does realize that he should retire after this season, before it gets really ugly. Nash has been one of the all time greats but his body just won’t allow him to be as great as his skills. After 35 everybody is going downhill, at 40 your time is up as an elite basketball player. That is the reality even if your name is Steve Nash. Father Time is the GOAT!!!

  24. sports fan says:

    Nash might not have a good year & next year (his last year of his contract) might be worse.

  25. Father Time Acknowledger says:

    Steve Nash should retire now. The Lakers aren’t going anywhere. Steve Blake continues to underperform. He just lacks the confidence to up his game. He needs to stop looking in the mirror at his strangely shaped head. Pau Gasol is just too soft. He has great skills but he is soft and has weak hands and complains to the refs too much. Kaman has some skills also but he is very insecure and this is readily apparent when he faces a real inside strong manly presence which can block his shot. He quickly loses all his confidence and D’Antoni benches him soon thereafter.

    The Lakers need a guy that has superconfidence and isn’t scared to make mistakes or look foolish. A guy that believes he is great. A guy that believes he is a superstar and wants to be and wants the spotlight.

    Lakers have to many timid guys who are just trying to stay in the league as long as possible to collect a paycheck.

    I can’t blame them but to win big you’ve gotta break out and try to dominate. No one wants to dominate on the Lakers.

    It’s going to be a painful season for Lakers fans. I would trade Kobe and Gasol and completely remake the team next year.

    • BigBoy says:

      lol nice name. you would trade kobe/gasol and comepletely rebuild? well you are not in position to make decisions like that are you? “The Lakers need a guy that has superconfidence and isn’t scared to make mistakes or look foolish. A guy that believes he is great. A guy that believes he is a superstar and wants to be and wants the spotlight.” wasn’t that kind of like a dwight howard? and we all saw what happened with that situation…

  26. Jay says:

    Even pushing 40, Nash still looks better than the author of this article.

    • Wow, thanks, that really brought a lot to the debate. I don’t think Fran was writing about wrinkles or receding hairlines here, dude. Go and post on TMZ if that’s the best you got.

  27. TK Bulgaria says:

    When you are 39 you can play and you can play well, but no one should expect a 39 year old guy to be leading the team, That is the problem in Steve’s situation. It seems LA is expecting him to actually carry the team which is unreasonable. It is a very sad situation for Steve since he probably thought he is going to a contender where he can be 4th or 5th option offensively and provide say some spark in key place. Instead, he will likely end his career in bang-up team that is even questionable for the playoffs.

    • BigBoy says:

      he agreed to go to LA off the basis of what he did his last year with phoenix where he looked like “all-star Steve Nash” not thinking about father time catching up. he wanted the spotlight of leading LA back to the nba championship. but injuries all of a sudden have him feeling like this coming out saying things like this. no way was he going to LA being the 4th or 5th option playing how he did his last year with phoenix

      • dpmac says:

        it is amazing the people that believe steve nash was a great basketbal player.
        dallas had a better record the year after he left than with him there.
        if you can’t play defense, you can’t play.

  28. JJ says:

    Melo is staying in NY.

    • BigBoy says:

      yes. definitely. for the rest of this season. will he go to the lakers? possibly but 0% chance of staying with NY

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      Melo is NOT staying in NY, the Knicks have failed to surround him with talent… He might go to the Lakers, but he is definitely leaving the Knicks

  29. mikepl says:

    stockton was still a factor in his age…

  30. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    Nash should have retired after last season. The Lakers are a train wreck ! Melo can’t save them “if” he does join the Lakers

  31. Fred says:

    It sure will be nice to read an article about the Lakers that does not mention you-know-who, the man child that disrespected one of the original NBA teams and the NBA at the same time. But, Nash is another issue altogether. Can’t fault him for his effort, or his level-headed approach to the drama in L.A. He’s player coach material. Farmar’s got the legs, but he could use some of Nash’s abilities and savvy, for sure. Hand-writing is on the wall, and I think the fans and the organization know it. And, I trust the organization to figure something out. They must be looking at the Philadelphia story and thinking, “Man, how do we find a rookie like MCW?” They will, and you know it. It’s just going to take a little extra time. Maybe Nash knows a Canadian kid somewhere, eh?

    • Good Luck says:

      Disrespected? Hah, he got off of a sinking ship.

      Good luck.

      • NIck says:

        Oh yeah, sure – every team Howard has been on has “problems”, and it’s always another player or the coach. Which center, if given the opportunity to pick the brain of, and learn from Kareem would spurn the opportunity? That’s Howard. When you “know that you know” you don’t improve. Again – that’s Howard. Whatever dominance he’s been able to muster is solely from his physical ability. When that erodes with time, the skills that he should have learned and continuously improved upon won’t be there – unless he changes his attitude.

      • And 1 says:

        That was no disrespect, he is just a wimp, backstabber(ask van gundy). The funny thing about him he thinks he is a superstar! He is just a good rebounder and shot blocker! And free throw shooter, hahaha!