Greatest free agency signings in NBA history: 6. Steve Nash- Phoenix Suns, 2004
Believe it or not, there are still plenty of Kobe stans who think that Steve Nash robbed their lord and savior Kobe Bryant of at least one MVP trophy, presumably because Nash didn’t launch a ton of contested 2-pointers and instead opted to pass the ball to open teammates (gasp!).
Needless to say, this is hogwash. Not only was Nash as effective an isolation scorer as Kobe was — albeit in a much smaller sample size — he also bested Bryant in WS/48 (.208 to Bryant’s .188). Bryant is great and there was an MVP argument for him given the lack of talent around him, but he in no way got the shaft from voters in favor of Nash.
Plus, the argument detracts from how awesome Nash and the Suns were in the mid-2000s. The Canadian-born floor general returned to the team that originally selected him 15th overall in 1996 after the Mavs brass were concerned about Nash’s back — even Mavs owner Mark Cuban questioned whether Nash would be able to walk after his career was over.
Everything considered, the move worked out for the Suns and Nash, who flourished as the conductor of Mike D’Antoni’s “Seven Seconds or Less” offense. This philosophy helped nudge the NBA into the fully-evolved pace-and-space game most fans enjoy today.
All in all, Nash’s second stint in Arizona lasted eight seasons and was a bit more productive than his first: 16.3 points, 10.9 assists, .510/.437/.912 shooting line, .181 WS/48 and those two MVP trophies. Oh, and he helped push NBA offenses into the 21st century.