Nash’s greatness found in the numbers


VIDEO: Steve Nash Will Miss The 2014-15 NBA Season

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Mike D’Antoni, Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns changed NBA offense forever. They showed us what can be accomplished with a simple pick-and-roll, floor spacing and a willingness to share the ball.

Elements of D’Antoni’s “Seven seconds or less” offense are seen throughout the league today. But Nash was running the NBA’s best offense long before D’Antoni was. In his last three years as the starting point guard in Dallas, the Mavericks ranked No. 1 in offensive efficiency.

Nash took that streak to Phoenix and continued it for another six years. He ran the No. 1 offense with Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley, even with Antoine Walker shooting 82-for-305 (27 percent) from 3-point range in 2003-04. In fact, when you compare teams’ offensive efficiency with the league average, that Mavs team had the No. 1 offense of the last 37 years (since the league started counting turnovers in 1977).

In Phoenix, Nash ran the No 1. offense with Amar’e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson, and kept it at No. 1 when Johnson left for Atlanta and Stoudemire missed all but three games in 2005-06. Even when Shaquille O’Neal arrived and supposedly bogged down the Suns’ attack, they had the most efficient offense in the league.

The Suns played at a fast pace, but we’re not looking at points per game, here. We’re looking at points per possession. And not only did Nash run the No. 1 offense of the last 37 years, he’s run each of the top five offenses of the last 37 years.

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Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain each led the league in scoring for seven straight seasons. Steve Nash ran the league’s best offense for nine straight, a run that started when Shaq and Kobe Bryant were at their best and ended when LeBron James was winning multiple MVPs.

Nash hasn’t said whether his career is over now that he’s been ruled out for the entire 2014-15 season, but it’s reasonable to guess that it is. It’s also reasonable to believe that we’ll never see another streak like the one he had between 2001 and 2010.

You can debate the merit Nash’s MVP awards or his place in the NBA’s all-time point guard rankings. But there’s no debating that he was one of the best offensive players of his generation. The numbers speak for themselves.

35 Comments

  1. Eran says:

    Sorry to say it, as much as I appreciate and respect this player he should have retired in Phoenix two years ago, and he probably knows it!

  2. NBAfan says:

    Great great player. Great shooter. Great point guard. It was fun watching the Suns team he led. They were stacked though if you think about it, but never reached the finals. I’d say he has underachieved for a hall of fame caliber type of player.

    He was the Stockton of his era, but he never really found his Malone. What would have happened if Notwitzki and Nash stayed in Dallas together? They would have been the Stockton-Malone combination of their generation. Probably no MVPs for either of them, but maybe more trips to the finals and more rings…

    • angel says:

      If he would stay in Dallas it would have been the same no championship because he could have been a one man show but did not have a championship team never had a vote to perfection a team for the Suns and lest Dallas he is a great player but not the best look at his past 2years for the Lakers played and no result of given his millions to his contract but in I his time off played Soccer and felt good come back to preseason and cant play now more authentic player all this he will support LA shore have to make him look good Money talk bull s… walks. Then people talk about Kobe Bryant jajajaja dam don’t know what is a true player for life…..

  3. we the north says:

    in all seriousness u guys simply don’t appreciate wat the lakers wud hav been with steve. We need u, steve.

  4. angel says:

    Enjoy retirement and your family time to lay back and see your self as a destiny in this sport. Easy 2 years to collect millions with out playing that is why he sign to the Lakers team. He knew he had that easy money made. Welcome to Hollywood jajajajajajaja ……….

  5. Andrew says:

    S Nash is one of the greatest 50 NBA players of all time. 2 MVP (should be 3) bring Phoenix franchise like Barkley to NBA final by himself with Stoudamire as his K.J. Farewell to your new career (hopefully TNT) and truly deserved a spot in Hall of Fame.

  6. celentano says:

    steve wasted his time enduring phoenix period,he had to go much early in his career! he flee away when he end up older with injuries,because the stupid owners of the lakers where blindfold at that time to give him big contracts instead to let choose him wisely for a pension was a better option for his legacy! another talent without a ring,,he just wasted his time with phoenix&dallas=no rings.that’s life your lucky or not!

  7. harriethehawk says:

    Maybe Nash does deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. But he certainly doesn’t need to be on the Lakers active roster. Time for him to retire, it’s just not fair for players like Jeremy Lin, who can actually contribute to the (sorry) Laker team. Personally, I’m glad they called him off for the entire season. Now we basketball fans don’t have to here the daily blow by blow verbal diarrhea on if he will play, will be day to day, etc.

  8. Metsis says:

    Nash deserved his MVP awards… You people seem to forget that the MVP is for the regular season. And for the playoffs you need to see the Finals MVP list. And Nash and the Suns were the talk of the town during the regular season… So there is a lot of merit behind the awards. Nash was the engine that made the whole show run.

    Was it d’Antoni, Nash or whatever, the Phoenix teams changed how the game is played today. There was pretty much no small ball before.

    Sure, there were other candidates for the award, but Nash won it twice in a row just as fairly as anyone else. The award does not say that this guy was the absolutely unquestioned best player in the league. It is a vote made by certain people with its good and bad features.

  9. sanjay says:

    nash deserved a ring. he was just with guys injured or he was injured himself. nothing happened with his 3 years stay with lakers. kobe injured, howard below par, cast washed up trailer park. I feel sorry for the dude!

  10. Nashty says:

    Steve Nash is THE BEST PG of ALL TIME. He’s one of a kind, Hope to see him back.

  11. poddle dog says:

    “In Phoenix, Nash ran the No 1. offense with Amar’e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson, and kept it at No. 1 when Johnson left for Atlanta and Stoudemire missed all but three games in 2005-06. Even when Shaquille O’Neal arrived and supposedly bogged down the Suns’ attack, they had the most efficient offense in the league.”

    It doesn’t matter, but sort of makes me think you never watched the suns stating this. Marion was much much more important and vital to their offense in all of the years…..also was a great defender.

  12. Rob says:

    Nash reminded me alot of John Stockton on offense, though, it’s a shame for him he couldn’t play defense like Stock did.

  13. Someone Else says:

    A great offensive point guard for sure (though of course not defensive), but one question looms large – Have we already seen his last NBA game?

  14. steven says:

    Nashs “Offensive” greatness is unquestionable. However his all around greatness is questionable. His defence is atrocious, and his gamble that you could beat teams by simply outscoring them FAILED. It was fun to watch, but was not good basketball.
    Nash should not be a 2 time MVP period. he owes Kobe and Shaq an MVP each.
    When Kpbe and Shaq were dominating the league they didn’t get the MVP’s they earned because the voters claimed that playing with each other hurt their chances, and Nash was the Most valuable player to his team. That was a logic I used to hear a lot from sports writers used to justify why the best player in League often didn’t get the MVP. Where was that logic when LBJ won his MVP’s at Miami? I think Lebron and Nash each owe Kobe an MVP, he was robbed. For Kobe to have only one when he was clearly the best player in the league for 7-8 years shows the MVP award doesn’t mean that much. The fact LBJ is only one MVP away from MJ ( and will probably overtake him ) with only a 1/3 of the success is a joke.

    • the13thjoker says:

      Nash shot 50+% from the field, 40+% from the 3 point line and 90+% from the free throw line while leading one of the best teams in the West both times he won the MVP award. That’s mind-blowing and worthy of any award.

    • alvin says:

      Kobe wasn’t the best player for 7 years. He was inefficient and his unwillingness to defer to teammates cost his team many games.

  15. Antony says:

    What isn’t mentioned here is his role as an inspiration to kids and fans in Canada. Without Nash and his relentless promotion and representation of Canadian Basketball, there wouldn’t be this wave of Canadian talent currently in the NBA. You ask the Wiggins, Bennetts and Thompsons who they looked up to growing up and they will tell you Nash.

    Nash carried Basketball Canada on his back being the only Canadian superstar and took the team as far as it can possibly go. Back in 2000 Olympics, If I remember correctly funded part of the trip so the team can have the resources to compete with the rest of the world. He is a multi-sport talent and an example of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.

  16. vacho says:

    as an all-around point guards even payton and kidd rank higher than Nash. he was zero on the defensive end even in his prime so thats why he never won. He put up great stats in regular seasons but because of his defensive inability his teams olways lose in playoffs

    • shahz says:

      youre acting like it was just HIS bad defence that lost them playoff games. next time reword your responses before you post them

  17. BrazyC says:

    My favorite player of all-time, ran the show like no one else. MVP

  18. dpmac1571 says:

    dallas had a better record the year after nash left and they nothing for him, since he was just let go.

  19. dpmac1571 says:

    if I am pickings sides and nash is there along with Jason kidd, I’m taking kidd.

  20. Jr says:

    NASH FOR PRESIDENT!

  21. TheKush says:

    One of the best OFFENSIVE players and point guards I 100% agree, but put him next to John Stockton and John Stockton would be a multiple time MVP as well. To be an MVP a player should just be good offensively but defensively as well. Steve Nash made d’Antoni (who I still think is a horrible coach) look like a genius he’s a GREAT player one of the best all time I just don’t know about the whole 2 time MVP rating.

    The first one maybe, generously but that Suns team never got to the finals, It’s not just Nash either I think James got screwed when Rose won the MVP, but Rose has yet to win 2 MVP trophies. Love him or hate LeBron lived up to the hype cameras have been following LeBron James since high school in December he’ll be 30 years old and he’s still the talk of NBA.

    Anyway Nash had a hall of fame career he’s a great player, great man, one of the best point guards ever. Bottomline He won 2 MVP’s some like me will call those controversial MVP’s but he won them and he won them without ever going to the NBA Finals. Durants been to the finals, Karl Malone’s been to the finals, Barkley’s been to the finals for myself at the very least you should reach the league’s biggest stage before getting 2 MVP trophies.

    Regardless of what I think Nash’s contribution to the game will never be forgotten, To me he was the best shooting point guard I’d ever seen until Steph Curry! Nice article!

  22. jeremy lin is a beast says:

    its beautiful nas is hurt. lin will have a chance now. tired of seeing nash taking his spot

    • Rob says:

      this is the first time they ever wouldve been able to play on the same time. how was he taking his spot? lol

  23. lbj the king says:

    imagine nash kobe mj lbj and shaq

  24. Lilje says:

    hes also got 4 50/40/90 seasons with bird coming in after him with 2. and hes also like 1 freethrow away from making the list 5 years in a row. now thats saying something

  25. Nash is a great player and a definite Hall of Famer. It’s sad seeing his career come to an end, especially like this. I kinda hope he’s able to get one more year and go to a championship caliber team and win with them. Hopefully playing at least 40 games and 10-15 mins a game though, not just riding the pine. As of right now he’s just another example of a great player that hasn’t won a ring, but that will still never take away from the greatness he had as an individual. Which is clear enough just through running the best offense for 9 years in a row

  26. philestena McLeod says:

    I am in agreement with this article written on Steve Nash contributions to the NBA. He is and will forever be the most effective point guard in the NBA. My congratulations to Steve Nash. He is not a hype player, Steve is a player who is humble resilient and skilled in the knowledge of how the game is played and brought his treasured abilities on the court each night.

  27. dawson says:

    Even better Imagine a young steve nash maybe 2002 steve nash on the Pistons with Drummond and Monroe

  28. William says:

    Imagine Nash in his prime as the Clippers PG rather than Paul.