Tyrese Haliburton is showing that Steve Nash did not deserve to win MVP

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

It should be no secret that Steve Nash is considered one of the best point guards in the history of the NBA. Nash might be remembered by younger fans as the former head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, who, despite having generational talent, failed ever to make an appearance in the NBA Finals with Nash at the helm.

As a player, Nash was an eight-time All-Star, five-time assist champ, and two-time MVP who played on the Suns, Mavericks, and Lakers during his 18-year career. His best seasons, 2005 and 2006, saw him win MVP while playing for the Suns.

Largely thanks to the dominance of the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs during Nash’s prime, his Suns were never able to get a crack in the NBA Finals. Despite that, his two MVPs make a clear-cut case for him to be considered one of the NBA’s top players ever. Or does it?

Steve Nash never deserved the MVP.

During the two seasons that Steve Nash was awarded the MVP, he posted averages of 17.2 points, 11 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocked shots. He shot a staggering 43% from deep, but that was on only 3.6 attempts per game, which are hardly Steph Curry’s numbers. During those two seasons, his Suns came in first and second in the NBA Western Conference and averaged 58 wins per season, although both the 2005 and 2006 Suns fell in the Western Conference Finals to the Spurs and Dallas Mavericks.

This is where the case that Nash was a fraud becomes ever more apparent. This year’s Indiana Pacers—yes, the lowly Indiana Pacers—are on track to win 50 games and currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Indiana Pacers traded superstar Domantas Sabonis away last season for Buddy Heild and Tyrese Haliburton in a move that was clearly a tank job, but the Pacers have flourished. Due to Nash winning two MVPs in the past, it is plainly clear that Tyrese Haliburton deserves to win the league’s highest honor.

Haliburton is having a better season for the Indiana Pacers than MVP Nash.

This season, Tyrese Haliburton, in year three of his NBA career, is posting more points, rebounds, and assists than Steve Nash did in his two best years. On top of that, Haliburton is shooting an elite 38% from deep on seven attempts per game and has racked up twice the number of assists that Nash did during his prime. Nash was never a great defender, and Haliburton is elite. One is clearly the more well-rounded player.

Now, it’s true that Nash’s Suns were better than the 2022 Indiana Pacers, although not by much. NBA oldheads who value Nash’s contributions are met with an alarming dilemma that ought to delight younger fans: either Haliburton is the runaway MVP this season or Steve Nash didn’t deserve his two Maurice Podoloff Trophies.

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You can sit there and scoff at the idea of Haliburton, who has never even made an All-Star game, winning MVP, although numbers don’t lie. Haliburton is leading a team to wins and doing so in ways that would make Steve Nash and his fans proud.

If Nash can be considered a top point guard, the player posting better stats should be considered even better. It took Nash nine seasons to get to this mark, it’s taken Hali only three. You tell us, who’s the better player?