It was a weird 4th of July earlier this month as it was during mid-week, which I’m not a fan off. I like it when it’s on a Friday or Monday. So I went out for a run in the scorching heat and humidity – I was shot for the day. I then checked my texts and started getting into arguments with all sorts of people basically telling everyone this: Steve Nash can’t go to Toronto; it’s stupid because he’s an all-time great! “ouuu but it’s going home Andrew” he’s not from Toronto! He didn’t even play college basketball in Canada; heck he wasn’t even born in Canada! Going home is over-rated when you’re an all-time great. When you’re on a 7 game losing streak and a 9th seed in the East, congrats on going home!
Steve Nash deserves a fight for the championship, he’s Steve Nash!! Steve Nash led the NBA in assists the last 3 seasons and Phoenix didn’t have a 20 pts a game scorer! How the hell did he do that? That’s absolutely amazing! He’s still a 50% shooter from the field “Well Andrew, he doesn’t defend very well” who does though? Derrick Rose? Please!! Steve Nash to the Lakers is a game changer. Do you get how bad the Lakers were at the point guard position last year? Let me just sum up how bad the Lakers were. When they acquired Ramon Sessions, a back-up in freaking Cleveland, it was considered a major upgrade. When they acquired Ramon Sessions – who couldn’t start for Cleveland, they threw a parade in Los Angeles. The Lakers’ point guards at the end of last season were the 2nd worst in the league in points per game and 4th worst in assists.
Nash, not only led the league in assists with no stars – now he gets Kobe, Gasol and Bynum, but he also ranked 1st in assists per 48 minutes and 2nd in assist percentage. Meaning, did his teammates shoot better when he was on the floor? He was #2 in the league. This absolutely changes everything “But Andrew, the Lakers still don’t have a bench…” who does though? Indiana? How’d that work out for them in the playoffs? Oklahoma City had a much better bench then Miami, Miami had Lebron. Benches don’t win titles. Spurs had a great bench, Miami had no bench – you need stars!! They win you games in this league; if they didn’t, then Indiana would have 9 rings. But you know who’s got them? The Celtics and the Lakers because they attract stars! So he is a complete game changer.
The other thing in Los Angeles is that Steve Nash is one of these guys – there are about 3 or 4 of them in the league. Lebron is one of them; Chris Paul is one of them and Steve Nash, in that they upgrade everybody around them by a little. They take a B- player and make him a B+ player. They take a C+ player and make him a B- player and Nash is really good at that. The Lakers’ biggest problem – and any Laker fan will tell you, is that Pau Gasol and Kobe don’t mesh, they like each other and they’re really smart guys. The truth is, Kobe is not a true point guard, and he is a scorer and not a distributor. As a result, Pau Gasol gets frozen out and gets ticked off. Every year by the All-Star break Pau starts complaining “I’m not getting enough touches” with Nash…problem solved!
So A) you get a massive upgrade at point guard – Steve Nash and Ramon Sessions isn’t an upgrade, it is a mega upgrade! It’s Dwight Howard from Brook Lopez, it’s not even close. Secondly, you get a guy who led the league in assists in Phoenix with no legitimate scorers. What do you think he’s going to do with Kobe and Gasol? 3 years ago, Gasol was arguably the best big in the game, do you think he’s bad now? No, the Lakers point guards have been atrocious – nobody gets him the ball. This, if anything, revives his career. This is just an absolute game changer! Not to say that the Lakers still don’t have issues, but folks it’s the NBA, there is a salary cap, everybody in this league has issues and flaws Miami won a championship with no point guard and no center! Oklahoma City is great yet 4 of their top 7 players are non-scoring threats. The Bulls don’t have a 2nd scorer – these are 3 of the best teams in the league!
The Lakers have 4 current players – either current all-stars or who use to be. Even though Nash isn’t, he’ll lead the league in assists next season for the 4th straight year – this is an absolute gigantic move! Go look at his numbers, his points have gone down but the Lakers don’t need points, he also adds a shooting touch from the perimeter. Kobe had his worst shooting year ever….why? Is he that bad all of a sudden? No, he was averaging 28 pts a game. Since they had no point guard he was basically forced into making his own shots way too often – now he’s going to get open jumpers occasionally. Kobe’s field goal percentage will go up by like 5%. Big win for Kobe, big win for Gasol, big win for Mike Brown, the head coach, who’s a defensive minded head coach, he’s not a great offensive minded guy so Steve Nash takes a lot of that headache off his table.
Metta World Peace was interviewed on the Scott Van Pelt Show shortly after Nash signed, you can make fun of Metta World Mishap all you want but the guy knows basketball saying “ he [Steve Nash] has a lot of weapons around him, he’s one of the leading assist guys of all-time. So if you give him the ball, he can dish it out to Metta World Peace, Kobe Bryant, the big Spaniard, Bynum – and he’ll make us look even better…” Never forget this: In the 5 games against Oklahoma City in the playoffs – Games 2, 3 and 4 with final scores of 77-75, 99-96 and 103-100, LA led in every one of those games in the 4th but Ramon Sessions was their point guard. LA is not that far off “but they don’t have a great bench like the Spurs Andrew” they lost 4 straight games at the end of the year because they didn’t have the stars that OKC did – it’s a star driven league. The Knicks have a bench yet it only won them one playoff game. Indiana has got depth but couldn’t beat Miami without Chris Bosh! I think this move is a complete game changer!
I still think Miami is the favourite, LA has closed the gap on OKC though I’d still give them the advantage because they are young, they’ve got chemistry, coming off a very good Western Conference playoff run but I’d put LA and Boston as tied for 3rd. Now do you still pursue Dwight Howard? I think yes! You have to go after Dwight Howard. Now I can live with Bynum, Gasol, Metta, Kobe and Nash – I can live with that. But he adds youth and he’s a better defensive player. Bill Simmons was on The Thundering Herd last month – I just wonder if Brooklyn even understands, does the Orlando Magic front office understand that what Brooklyn was offering was a bunch of draft picks late in the 1st round and C+ players. Do they realize that the Lakers could give them Bynum for Dwight Howard?? Bill Simmons talked about that saying “I just don’t think you should be able to get him for the poop poop platter that the Nets were offering. None of those guys in the trade will ever be an All-Star, the 1st round picks that they would be giving up would be at the bottom of the 1st round. If you’re an Orlando Magic fan, you cannot accept that trade, you just can’t”
I totally agree with Bill – this Brooklyn offer, everyone was falling in love with it! It’s a bunch of C+ players and late 1st round draft picks, there is no Andrew Bynum in there! So does Orlando realize that getting Dwight Howard’s equal, better offensively though not as good defensively, is as good as your going to get! Anytime you trade stars you end up losing, it’s very rare when you can give up Dwight Howard and get a Bynum, which just simply doesn’t happen in the NBA. Normally you give up a star and end up getting like a Caron Butler x4, draft picks late in the 1st round – those have no value, you see everyone in the league give away draft picks, they have no value outside of the top 5.