NBA Draft: Top 30 draft steals in league history

Adam Silver, 2019 NBA Draft. Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Adam Silver, 2019 NBA Draft. Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images /
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Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Scouting Report. 6. Pick Analysis. Point Guard. 15th Pick: 1996. Steve Nash. player. 66

Best NBA Draft steals of all time: Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

While many basketball fans will say that a player is “slept on,” in reality, it takes some players much more time to reach their potential.

As a high school player in Canada, Steve Nash had no scholarship offers. After mailing film tape to the head coach for Santa Clara and performing a workout, Nash finally made it onto a basketball scholarship.

He led Santa Clara to three NCAA appearances and was named the Player of the Conference twice. After his senior year, he entered the 1996 NBA Draft. Despite being selected at 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns, it left some analysts and fans confused due to how little they knew about the Canadian point guard.

Nash saw little playing time with Phoenix in his first season, primarily due to the depth of guards in front of him. Even though he saw an increase in playing time and production in his second year, he still hadn’t reached his potential.

In Summer 1998, the Suns traded Nash to the Dallas Mavericks and his career began to blossom.

Nash played five seasons with the Mavericks and became a two-time NBA All-Star in Dallas. In Summer 2004, Nash became a free agent and wanted to stay with Dallas. Phoenix, however, approached Nash with a much more lucrative contract. The point guard decided to return where his NBA career began.

Nash enjoyed the best years of his career during his second stint in Phoenix, averaging 16.1 points and 10.9 assists per game, while shooting over 40 percent from distance. He became a six-time NBA All-Star, assist champion five times, and won the league MVP twice with Phoenix.

Although he helped the Suns get to the Western Conference Finals three times, Nash never appeared in the NBA Finals.

Even though it took him years to reach the pinnacle of his abilities, given that 14 players were selected before Steve Nash seems preposterous.