Welcome to the TWENTIETH (CAN YOU BELIEVE WE'VE DONE 20 OF THESE!?) piece of the 2010-11 Phoenix Suns Player Evaluations. We here at Bright Side of the Sun have assembled somewhat of a 'special' as in 'short-bus' cast of writers to put together alternative views and biased views and amazing views on the players, front office, and coaches. Your favorite and least favorite Suns will no doubt get plenty of attention, and the compliments or criticism they deserve. Please also comment a lot on Eutychus' posts and you must hit the REC button so that he can pay for graduate school and his addiction to Sour Skittles... even though he only imagines he makes money when his articles get rec'ed.
Until November 17, Steve Nash was playing at a level nearly above and beyond where he was when he captured his TWO MVP trophies... but something happened that forced Steve to end the season with a few wrinkles in his overall career stat-sheet.
- This year, Steve Nash posted the least amount of 3 point shots attempted per game (2.7) he has in 13 seasons.
- He also posted the least amount of FG attempts PERIOD (10.8) in His last 11 seasons.
- His Turnover% was as high as it has ever been (22.4), not counting his rookie season (24.2). (To be fair - his AST% was the highest he's ever had at 53.1, which speaks volumes to the fact that he is one of the most amazing passers to ever play the game AND to the fact that the players around him are unable to - the majority of the time - create their own shots)
- His FG% was the lowest it's been (.492) and the first time under .500 since 2003-04 - his last year in Dallas.
- His 3P% was the lowest it's been (.395) since 1998-99 - his first year in Dallas.
- He only played in 75 games this year which is his 2nd lowest total in his career since becoming a starter... and we all know that the Suns' record is absolutely puke-worthy when Nash doesn't play.
This all sounds terrible right? Well guess what - he was still one of the best players in the NBA. I might have made all that sound bad but trust me - what is sub-par for Steve Nash is above and out of reach for most NBA players. He is a special Canadian and the reasons for his decline in some statistics this year is due to probably a couple of factors. Here's the first,most obvious and no doubt the primary culprit.
First, it was 'the groin'.
Then it was 'pubic symphysis'.
Then in an attempt to curb the giddy laughter of you immature folk out there and reduce the pollution of the air with the word 'pubic'... it was 'pelvic instability'.
Despite the injury's many description changes, one fact remained/remains the same - I have no idea what it is but if he says his man parts hurt then by golly he has all the sympathy I can offer.
The injury definitely affected Nash's performance on the court. He was still able to dish the ball and capture this year's assist title... but his shooting and mobility in general were absolutely hampered.
Here's a video that explains the injury and it's affects in great detail - props to Mike Schmitz and Valley of the Suns. (Oh, and by the way... I just picked up some video editing software and an HD PVR [Personal Video Recorder] he he = you here at Bright Side of the Sun might get some extra-amazing content for next season)
So if your pubic area is hurting BADLY all the time and especially when you move and do things like gee I don't know... play basketball, do you think you could still go out there and shoot nearly 50-40-90? I don't either... but Nash still almost did it. In fact he was the closest player to accomplishing that feat despite his injury that obviously greatly affected his play.
Now above I mentioned that his decline in stats was due to a couple of factors here's the 2nd.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion... and my opinion is that it would be nearly impossible for someone (even a Cyborg like Nash is) to NOT be affected emotionally and mentally by the stresses and rigors that accompany a divorce. Especially one involving children.
Now let me know if you felt the same way or not - but I definitely think this year I saw a more fiery - quick tempered - vocal - and edgy Steve Nash than I have ever seen. He was quick to pick up T's and sharp with his words towards the team and it's abilities. Not always the normal stoic and philosophic Nash we have been used to.
Now how can I link this to his decline in stats? I can't actually. But I can assume as a fellow human being that problems/issues like this at home can and usually inevitably affect a person's performance at work - even if your work is to play basketball.
I could also say that maybe the divorce actually helped Steve play better though! Because indeed until he sustained his mysterious injury the Nash Rambler was on track to surpass statistically by a large margin everything he had done during his MVP seasons and we all marveled at the way he was playing.
So maybe in reality the Injury was the primary and singular cause to his decline in some stats but being the creature of sophistry that I am I won't leave it out as a possible factor either.
AGING NASH - AGING SIGHT?
So a weird thing is happening to Steve... his ability to recognize and execute plays while the shot-clock or game-clock are winding down is increasingly becoming FAIL status. I don't know what it is... and I can't link it to the injury because it has nothing to do with his pubic symphonies. Maybe his vision is going bad and he can't see the clocks? He's started this bad habit over the course of the last couple years too. I don't know what it is and I hope he figures out that it's a problem and spends more time at the park or in the gym like we all have done as children - taking shots and counting down to ourselves "He's got the ball at the 3-point line... time is ticking, for the victory... 3...2...1". Maybe that will help. A little coaching advice from Coach Euty. Put it on my tab homie.
Now on to the good stuff.
This year Steve Nash...
- Lead all NBA players with 50 double-digit assist efforts
- Lead all NBA guards with 41 double-doubles
- Had an NBA-high 20 games of 15 or more assists
- Had 8 20-point, 15 assist performances in 75 games this season when he only had 3 all of last season and a total 5 in 2008-09 and 2009-10 combined
- Recorded his 8th career 20 assist game - more than Kevin Johnson (7) - and did it as the oldest player EVER to have done such a thing.
- He turned 37 this year. That is amazing when you look at what he did.
- Took first place on the NBA's all-time career free-throw percentage list.. then went back to second.
- Ultimately - he won the NBA Assist title. His 5th one.
Alright you see all that junk that he did... despite a severe injury and missing 7 games? Now multiply the amazingness of it by 10 when you consider the fact that all those things were manufactured by Steve on team where he has NO ALL-STAR caliber players around him. No stars at all. Not one Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen or Paul Pierce. That my friends. Is amazing.
But no matter how amazing it might seem to us as adoring fans of The Great One... Sorry Gretzky, the other Canadian sports icon... it is all drowned out in the fact that the Phoenix Suns didn't make the playoffs and didn't even finish the season with a positive record.
40 - 42
That right there my friends... isn't going to get you recognition for JACK SH**. And it's too bad. But oh well, I'm a Suns fan and here's what I think -
HI! My Name is... SNUBBY McSNUBBED A LOT
According to my trapper-keeper full of Suns notes.. Steve Nash was pretty much snubbed twice this year.
As an All star - I'm just going to steal ussell Westbrook over Steve Nash in the All-Star Game? Really, Western Conference Coaches? Sure, the Oklahoma City Thunder (31-17) have a better record than the Phoenix Suns (23-24) but Nash's numbers are better overall and he's meant far more to his team. And fellas, how about showing a little respect for the older guy?
Westbrook joins Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Deron Williams, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol as the seven reserves voted on to the 2011 NBA All-Star team. While Charles Barkley is losing his lunch on TNT talking about how Kevin Love being left off was the biggest travesty of all time, the real shame isn't snubbing the second-year double-double machine who plays on bad team at a fast pace. The real travesty is picking third-year Westbrook over Nash.
Nash is averaging 16.8 points, 11.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. He's shooting a ridiculous 52.6 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from three.
Westbrook is averaging an impressive 22.4 points per game playing next to Kevin Durant who sucks up all the opponent's defensive attention and he's only 43.4 percent from the field and a horrible 24 percent from three. Westbrook adds 8.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds to his line.
I congratulated the coaches for ignoring the shiny new toy in Minnesota (Love) but why couldn't they do the same for Westbrook?
And as a member of the All-NBA Team - I'll steal Paul Coro's words for this one...
Guard Steve Nash was the only Suns player to receive votes but his 17 voting points (no first-team votes) were not close to the 106 points that San Antonio's Manu Ginobili accrued to claim the final third-team guard spot. In fact, Nash finished 10th in All-NBA voting among guards behind Derrick Rose (593), Kobe Bryant (551), Dwyane Wade (392), Russell Westbrook (184), Chris Paul (157), Ginobili, Rajon Rondo (68), Tony Parker (27) and Deron Williams (19).
That is what a Suns record of 40-42 will do for you. Just ask Andre Miller or Mark Jackson. They are the only other NBA assist champions to be left off the All-NBA teams since the third team was added in 1989. Miller led the NBA in assists in 2001-02 for 29-53 Cleveland, and Jackson did it in 1996-97 when he split the season between 21-61 Denver and 39-43 Indiana.
Nash led the NBA with 11.4 assists per game but Rondo and Williams finished second and third and also did not make the teams.
The last sentence right there says something. Does the NBA and those who vote not care about the difficulty and lost art of passing the ball? Does the NBA praise and hail ball-hogging? Whatever... maybe it's a discussion for later, maybe I'm jealous that other teams have more athletically freakish players that they call 'point guards'. Maybe I'm just sick of watching Russel Westbrook continually pretend to be baby jesus and forget the fact that he has the greatest scorer probably ever to play the game to PASS to. Rant over.
If I have to give Steve Nash a grade for his performance this year I'd give him an A- only because of his injury which affected his play and also because of his declining ability to recognize an expiring clock, be it shot or game. Otherwise, individually Steve Nash was his usual self. AMAZING.
So... how many more years do you think Steve could play?
Or a better question - How many more years do you want Steve Nash to play for the Suns?