Steve Nash has only been able to give the Los Angeles Lakers an appearance in only 65 games since he was dealt from the Phoenix Suns in 2012. During the 2012-13 season, Nash collided with Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, suffering nerve damage along with a fracture to his leg.
This occurrence has led to many of the setbacks for Nash in his last few seasons.His addition to the Lakers was supposed to be the beginning of a Western Conference powerhouse along with Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant. As a Sun, Nash was known as one of the league’s most productive point guards, winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award twice and even finishing with an average of 12.5 points and 10.7 assists per game at age 37.
Nash is now 40 years old, and injuries continue to sideline the 18-year veteran. He announced that this season will be his last in the NBA, and he should go into the year looking to fill a new role.
The Lakers were able to add both Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson at the point guard position. Both players are young and athletic, with Lin bringing a plethora of experience and ability to the team.
Without the assurance that they can rely on Nash’s health, the Lakers will likely start Lin while allowing Clarkson to develop in his rookie season. Nash would be an ideal reserve, buying him reduced minutes and a chance to mentor some of the Lakers younger reserves.
Nash is no longer the crafty player that fans grew to love. His once unique playmaking and passing ability have been slowed as he grows older.
The NBA game has changed dramatically at the point guard position. Players are far more explosive and athletic, leaving Nash at a disadvantage in today’s game.
Last season, Nash was able to show that he can still post some solid stats in limited minutes. He posted 6.8 points and 5.7 assists, which would be ideal coming off the bench for Los Angeles.
Playing in the NBA at 40 years old is a great reason to decrease your workload. Coming off the bench will preserve Nash if the Lakers can somehow reach the playoffs, and eliminate the pressure of proving his health.
One of the most important things for the Lakers has been their health for the last two seasons. If all things occurred as planned without injury, Nash may be in a different dilemma at this point in his career.
Back and nerve issues present the possibility of long-term health problems, and Nash must be wise to not risk the chance.
By bringing Nash along slowly from injury and age, the Lakers have a small ray of hope to give fans a chance to see one of the NBA’s best players finish out his career. It surely is something that many think Nash would not have any other way.