Tonight’s game with the Rockets has me pretty damn excited. These last three or four weeks have been pretty exhilarating as a whole, and hopefully a win tonight will keep the good times rolling. After all, these are meaningful games we never expected. This is a Suns team punching far, far above its weight.
It’s truly a joy to watch this team take to the court and battle these games out. Yet at the same time, it’s somewhat bittersweet…even if the Suns do make the playoffs.
I’m not talking about draft picks this summer. Fuck that. Fuck losing, tanking and everything about it. I’ve never understood sports fans who actively encourage losing for whatever reason. I never will. Even if the Suns miss the playoffs on a tie breaker, I don’t care. I want my Suns team to win as many games as possible. I love that they are, in the way that they are.
No, it’s bittersweet because these could be Steve Nash’s final games as a Sun. That’s a sad thought. I’m not going to explain what he means to the Suns, the franchise, the city, state, fan base and so on; it’s not necessary. Everyone knows. Besides, I’d be here all day otherwise.
Genuinely, I feel that Nash will be back. I have a whole host of reasons for thinking this, combined with optimism, hope and…well, pure bias. I’m just very confident. If anyone knows anywhere taking bets on it, let me know. I’d put a couple of week’s wages on him returning, that’s how confident I am.
Of course it’s far from guaranteed, and that’s what needs to be accepted and considered as we enter this final stretch of games. No matter how optimistic or pessimistic you are regarding Nash’s future, the possibility remains that in two weeks time he may have played his last game for the Suns.
They say you never truly appreciate what you have until it’s gone, and this will certainly be the case with Nash, whether he leaves this summer or in three years time. He’s a once in a generation talent. That a player as classy and talented as Nash has been with the franchise for so long and achieved so much feels almost as good as a championship itself (not that I’d know what that feels like, it’s eluded both my sports teams all my life).
The fact that the Suns don’t have a clear plan in place with regards to the PG position only adds to the bittersweet feeling I have right now. This season has shown us that no matter what: if Steve Nash is on the roster, anything is possible. He gives the team a chance. He makes everyone around him better. He makes his team at least 50% better than the guys at ESPN seem to think (500% for certain individuals over there), despite years of evidence that show he has a track record of doing so. No player will ever replicate what Steve Nash can do.
As such it’s not just the end of Steve Nash we might be seeing, but the end of that type of team which has Nash’s personality stamped all over it. The team’s identity is Steve Nash himself. We’ve seen it through the years; the chemistry, the companionship, the professionalism, the desire to play the game the right way, with fun and passion. The Suns don’t have someone waiting in line to take over with that same brand of basketball, someone who Nash has tutored and groomed for the role.
Nobody knows what a Suns team without Nash and Nash’s influence on it will look like, but it will almost certainly be a very different one. That’s what we need to acknowledge. The entire culture of the franchise effectively changes without Steve Nash. Is that an exaggeration? Maybe, but you get my point.
Win or lose tonight, enjoy Steve Nash and what he brings to the Suns. Enjoy his flawless shooting form as he nails a three or an off balance jumper under pressure. Enjoy seeing him put on a pick ‘n’ roll clinic and give opposing defenders fits. This is an offensive master at work in a way we likely won’t see again in our lifetime, either on the Suns or elsewhere.
Appreciate him while you still can, just in case it actually is the last of him in a Suns uniform. When he’s back next season, appreciate him even more.