I am scared to death of the Lakers. This is the first time I have ever had to say it. Kobe will always be Kobe, and the coaching has been nothing but great for years. Just the same, I don’t think the NBA truly feared the Los Angeles Lakers the way that they do now. Once considered a perennial title contender, LA has passed above and beyond that becoming an offensive, defensive, and all around competitive juggernaut. Just think, a team that went from being slowly on the decline as their star ages is now being argued as one of the greatest teams ever assembled, and the season hasn’t even started yet.
The recent acquisition of Orlando Magic Center, and defensive power house, Dwight Howard has made LA into the seemingly unstoppable team it is set to become. Dwight and Kobe? Who could ask fro more? We might as well start giving out rings now. Just the same, in all of the excitement of pairing up two of the biggest stars in today’s NBA, we seem to overlook yet another superstar on the team. Former Phoenix Suns Point Guard Steve Nash.
Nash is a 16-season veteran, and has the resume to show for it. Aside from a championship ring, the undersized guard has all a player could ever strive for. 2 NBA MVP awards, 8 All-Star appearances, and becoming a 5-time league assist leader is not a bad career. In fact, that’s far more than Dwight Howard can claim. When Nash announced that he would join forces with the Black Mamba in Hollywood, LA fans acted appropriately. Hype was thrown about, Nash was glorified as a hero, and the entire city rallied around a short, white, Canadian with ball-handling skills and a dream.
For a player who spent so much of his time in the desert, it seemed nice Nash could finish off his career in a place without cactuses and fans who don’t dress like the lone ranger. The trouble with Nash in the League’s public eye was, ironically enough, his consistency. For 5 straight seasons, the veteran guard quietly worked his tail off in Phoenix, endearing his native fans and putting up incredible numbers for a player at his age. However, the Suns are a small market team, and Phoenix is not exactly a dream destination. The fans and players alike got used to Nash being there. We got used to him dropping dimes, outhustling younger players, and just all-around being a great player.
The move from Phoenix to LA was fittingly dramatic. Any fan would be hard-pressed to find a bigger basketball spotlight that Los Angeles. Yet, since the arrival of Howard, Nash is being forgotten. Let this serve as a reminder to LA fans, and simply those who love basketball. Steve Nash is one of the greatest point guards to play the game, and he is teaming up with one of the greatest shooting guards to ever play the game. Oh yeah, and some guy who almost won a ring once. Dwight is great, but he is no Steve Nash. How quick we are to be distracted by a young, fun, superstar, when there are still greats hanging around in the league, usually in the shadow of the latest player to get some signature Jordan’s. Look no further than LA. Steve Nash at the point is a bigger upgrade than Dwight Howard in the paint. There is simply no question about it.
The Lakers have struggled with finding a decent point-guard for years, and while Nash won’t get any younger, he is still incredible. Replacing Ramone Sessions with Steve Nash is a bigger stretch than replacing Andrew Bynum with Dwight Howard. In Nash’s situation, the Lakers were replacing a pretty lackluster guard in Sessions, with an incredible floor general in Nash. In Howards situation, they replaced the second best center in the league, with the best. The question is not one of Nash being better than Howard, it is one of who will bring the biggest impact. The answer is clearly Steve Nash. It’s fine to hype about Howard, but respect your elders, LA fans. Let’s not forget all about Steve Nash.