Usually during the Fourth of July Americans get excited to celebrate the country’s independence with fireworks. Well this year didn’t disappoint. The Fireworks went off and in surprising fashion. Hollywood landed one of the biggest NBA Free Agents of 2012 in 2 time MVP, 8 time Allstar, and 3 time All-NBA first team point guard Steve Nash. As a Lakers fan I was happier with the sign and trade deal that brought Nash to Los Angeles more than I was with lighting off mortar bombs in the sky.
Steve Nash is everything the Lakers have been missing in the point guard position and more. Not only does Steve Nash fill the much needed true point guard role which the Lakers really have never had going back to the days of Magic Johnson, but he also brings that alpha dog leadership role similar to Kobe Bryant. Kobe has always been the proven leader and champion in the locker room but with the departure of Derek Fisher this regular season to the OKC Thunder, (in return for PF Jordan Hill) he has been lacking that backup co-captain veteran leader to help inspire his teammates. Pau Gasol was named co-captain after Fisher left and I don’t need to tell you how that worked out. With the addition of Steve Nash, the Lakers add the BEST yes I said Best passing point guard in the NBA and possibly who has ever played the game. Steve Nash will energize this lethargic Lakers offense where everything is about each individual creating his own shot. Now Pau Gasol doesn’t have to play the role of facilitator but can go back to his original spot as Power Forward and I’m hoping he adds the POWER back to his 7 foot skilled repertoire. Not only will Steve Nash improve Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum’s game with the pick and roll and alley oops (sorry Clippers there is a new Lob City in town) but he also will free up Kobe and give him a ton of open looks without defenders crowding him. Because of this new found open space there will be no more double and triple teams that Kobe has been accustomed to seeing. Also Nash takes away from doubling the Bigs down low in Bynum and Gasol and decongests the lane for them to work in and get easy open looks, dunks, and tip-ins increasing the Towers FG percentage. Steve Nash brings the FUN back to LA and SHOWTIME will be in full effect! Signing Steve Nash all of a sudden makes the LA LAKERS a Championship contender once again. Not only is he the best facilitator in the game, making his teammates better but he also is a sharpshooting 3 point shooter as well as a deadly mid range jumpshooter. Nash brings a spark to LA that not even a young Russell Westbrook could do for his OKC Thunder. Gasol and Bynum will be completely re-energized with many easy baskets under the hoop created by Steve Nash. Today the Lakers officially signed Steve Nash and he chose the jersey number #10. Why? “10 is the number of playmakers in the game of soccer,” Nash replied. Steve Nash is a playmaker and everyone on the Lakers will benefit.
Let’s look at Steve Nash by the numbers. Nash career average is 14.5 ppg, 8.6 apg, and 3rpg. Not too shabby for the 2 time MVP (Both stolen from Kobe btw). Those are great stats for any player but especially your point guard. It says two things. 1: that Nash can score and get his own shot, and 2: Nash can create for others and throw out dimes like he was trying to collect a dollar. Nash career FG% is 49.1 so he makes about half the shots he takes and that is real encouraging because it is such a high number for a guard, and his 3 point FG% for his career is 42.8%. Both of these numbers indicate that Nash is an extremely deadly shooter and can kill you with his jumper or beating you with his dribble penetration. Also Steve is one of the best free throw shooters in the NBA at 90% which means teams won’t want to be fouling him at the end of the game. Nash’s outside shooting is key because last season the Lakers were one of the worst 3 point shooting teams in the league at 32%. Steve Nash alone had a better 3 point FG shooting percentage last season at 39% than the whole Lakers squad. Now the Lakers have a pure shooting true point guard who can create shots for others as well as himself. Steve Nash is a Christmas gift unwrapped in July. Just like when the Lakers traded Kwame Brown and received Pau Gasol, or in 96 traded Vlade Divac for the 13th pick by the Hornets in Kobe Bryant, so Steve Nash is another gift Lakerland has received.
Everybody wants to talk about the age of Steve Nash and how he is 38 years old. Well I think they should ask him where he found the fountain of youth and have him lead them there. Steve Nash at 38 years young is better than Ramon Sessions at 26 years old. Last season Steve Nash averaged 12.8 ppg, 10.7 apg (league leading), 3 rpg, and shot 53% from the field and 39% from 3 point range. Like I said Steve Nash will make the Lakers smash. He brings formidability to this Lakers team who all they really needed was a true facilitator and three point shooter, and it happens that Steve Nash is both. Lakers are in a win now mode and trying to utilize the remaining portion of Kobe’s prime era, so adding Steve Nash pushes the Lakers into that Championship caliber team once again. With all of Andrew Bynum’s immaturity and Pau Gasol’s ineptness Steve Nash instills confidence and aggressiveness into the Lakers Bigs. When asked what it would be like to play with the Lakers twin tower 7 footers, Nash said “I have not only thought but dreamed about it.” The Lakers will Nash will cause matchup nightmares offensively for opponents. With Nash running point he can slash to the lane, pick and roll with Gasol and Bynum, or dribble drive and hit Kobe on the wing.
If the Lakers haven’t struck Gold with the Steve Nash than I don’t think there is such think as luck of the Irish. Nash competitive fierceness will drive the Lakers to further greatness. The Lakers are a franchise built on dynasty and heart of a champion mentality and Steve Nash exemplifies both. Only a few players have the hard working intensity that determines a champion and the Lakers happen to now have both (Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant). Steve Nash might have to throw a celebration party when he is in LA saying not 1 not 2 but at least 3 championships the Lakers will win. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself but what I do now is that the Lakers are real NASHTY now and enter in the Championship discussion. Kobe is hungrier than ever to tie Michael Jordan and receive his 6th ring, while Steve Nash is hungry to get his first ring in Los Angeles on what appears to be the first time he has ever been on a championship caliber team.
Nash and Kobe have gone at it for years, Kobe and the Lakers beat the Suns in the Western Conference Finals in 2010 to go on and win their second straight NBA Finals. The Suns also knocked the Lakers out in the first round in 2006 and 2007. However Kobe and Nash say they hold a bond that goes back to the 1996 draft class and the respect they have for one another. So as the old saying goes if you can’t beat them than join them; and that is what Nash has done. Truly two of the All-time greats have now combined to play together to compete for a championship for at least the next three years. Thank you Steve Nash for coming to Los Angeles, Lakers fans could not be more appreciative.