The overrated career of Steve Nash


Today, ESPN.com columnist J.A. Adande authored the definitive guideline for all you Steve Nash apologists out there. The former L.A. Times writer should be ashamed of himself.

As a man who was born and raised in Los Angeles, Adande has witnessed greatness personified in Purple and Gold over the years. So why is he giving Nash a pass on holding the record for most playoff games played without logging a single minute in the NBA Finals?

Like most modern journalists, Adande has fallen prey to the myth of Nash.

Respect due, Nash is among the best point guards to enter the league in the last decade. His leadership, toughness and dedication are legendary and he’ll remain an icon in Phoenix for years to come.

But that’s about the extent of his legacy.

Make whatever excuses you want. His record speaks for itself.

Of the NBA’s top 10 all-time assist leaders; do you know how many of them never played in the Finals? Two, one being Nash the other being Rod Strickland.

Since 1980, there have been seven different instances of a player winning the MVP in successive seasons. Do you know how many of them have never played in the Finals? Just one person has accomplished this feat – guess who.

In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find any NBA MVP who has never once played in the Finals. Never mind actually winning a title.

Imagine what we’d be saying about Magic Johnson if he had a similar resume. Just think of what Michael Jordan’s legacy would be if he were a global icon without ever having dripped sweat on a hardwood floor donning an NBA Finals logo.

But with Nash, folks like Adande are willing to overlook this apparently inconsequential detail in his incomplete career.

Go ahead; remind me of how Nash took his team to the playoffs without Amar’e Stoudemire one year. Convenient that we omit what happened last season when the Suns missed the playoffs despite Nash teaming up with another former MVP – Shaquille O’Neal. I know, I know, Shaq was all washed up by the time he got to Phoenix. My memory is a little hazy but I don’t remember Shaq being any better in Miami yet Dwyane Wade somehow found a way to get a ring out of the situation.

Perhaps the greatest crime of all in Adande’s apologetic piece is the following excerpt.  

He isn’t consumed by the quest for the championship ring, either. Could you imagine Nash, of all people, even wearing one of those gaudy things?

Needing a championship to finalize his career is, he says, “Not really in my thought process.”

Yeah, those “gaudy” rings aren’t worth their trouble I suppose.

Again, Nash’s game speaks for itself. He’s a dynamic passer, a true floor general with unlimited range, has every shot in the book and is money in the bank at the foul line. But all these qualities alone do not an all-time great make.

It takes something extra. Something we require of every other great player except Nash for some reason.

We’d never forgive Larry Bird for saying winning a title is “not in his thought process.”

Let’s just call the Steve Nash era what it truly is – convenient.

When the best players in the game weren’t marketable for various unsavory reasons (rape trial in Colorado anyone?) Nash was the safest bet for David Stern to put his chips on and for good reason. Nash is a high character guy who leaves nothing in the tank and entertains NBA fans worldwide.

But ticket sales and Habitat for Humanity appearances alone do not an all-time great make.

So, what is Nash’s true legacy?

Two MVP awards, 113 playoff games and counting, not one game played in the NBA Finals. Give Kobe Bryant the resume of Nash and tell me what his legacy would be.

But I guess winning titles isn’t a true measuring stick for greatness these days. Just ask LeBron James.

Tags: Steve Nash

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  • Da Real

    It has always been a serious point of contention with me that Steve Nash won any MVP’s. Nash is not a well rounded player. He is a great passer, good to above average scorer, poor defender, and gets no rebounds.

    Essentially he is NBA marketing at it’s finest. Just a package they sold to earn more of the white man’s money.

  • Jerome

    What a piece of garbage you are Shellcroft! Nobody has ever called Nash the greatest player ever. Laker snobs like you have an inferiority complex where you’re still angry at Nash for awards given to him five years ago. You hold it against Nash because he’s played 113 games without a Finals appearance. You conveniently left out the fact that he’s played his whole career in the West where the Spurs and Lakers have dominated everyone the last 12 years

  • Jerome

    And by the way Nash haters, tell me Nash doesn’t belong in the hall of fame! The short white Canadian is only:
    8th alltime in assists
    2nd alltime in free throw percentage
    7th alltime in three point shooting
    The only player to accomplish the 50/40/90 shooting percentages in four different seasons.
    Nash is one of the top ten shooters/passers in NBA history.

  • Mike

    This much is certain: Chris Shellcroft’s mother dropped him on his head as a baby.

    Unfortunately, she stopped before the baby died.

  • ZoDogg34

    Chris Shellcroft proves that any idiot can write on the internet.

  • http://www.lakeshowlife.com Ryan Kane

    That has already been proven previously, ZoDogg.

    See the Sun’s websites that predicted Suns in 4 or 5 for examples.

  • T. Roberts

    Chris you made some great points in your response to J.A.’s article. Amande truly punked out on that one. However I felt you left out some valuable tid-bits that truly expose Nash’s rise to basketball immortality as simply political. Sure Nash is a great talent, especially for his size, but compare him to Chris Paul and see what you get. If CP3 had the All-Star tools around him as Nash has, he would have been in the finals by now. He is every bit if not a more effective passer with fewer turn overs, let us not forget that Nash leads the league in that category. His last complete season 08/09, he averaged 22.1 PPG, at 11 APG and 5.5 RPG with a 2.96 TO average. His FT% 86.8, FG% 50.3 and 36.4 from 3PT. He was a first team All-Defensive Team honoree in 2008-2009 and led his team team to the second round of the playoffs. He is in the top 20 and predominately in the top 10 of all categories for point guards. So you do the comparison, Now here is a true all around point guard, yet Steve Nash is considered the best guard in the league, BS! CP3′s career stats crushes that of Nashes and he’s only been in the league 4 years. The most damming observation is this, DEFENSE! Nash is a liability, CP3 an asset. And for those of you that are stuck on his FT% and FG%, Compare the number of shots taken in both categories to those of Kobe, Wade, Lebron and CP3. FYI, the year he won his 2nd MVP, he only went to the free throw line 279 times compared to Kobe’s 819, Lebrons 814 and Wades 803. Nash only had 714 shot attempts compared to Kobe’s 1444, Wades 1337 and Lebrons 1407 Notice how all the other superstars numbers are close. All three had greater offensive impact for there teams than Nash, that’s even if you take into consideration his assists, they still provide more points to there teams than does Nash. Nash’s numbers are the same numbers he produced in Dallas with the same results, high scoring and a lot of regular season victories but no advancment to the finals. Isn’t it funny that the Mavericks went to the finals without him. He will go down as the only 2 time MVP to never make the finals, never win a championship, never average 20 or more points and never average 1 steal or 1 block for their career. Remember fellas, Defense wins championships and if your point guard is a targeted liability, that puts alot a pressure on your front line; add to that his inability to be the supar star and carry his team as well as will his team to victory during pressure filled playoff moments and you have a highly skilled and talented point guard but certainly not the type of player to be mentioned with likes of M.J., Magic, Bird, Russell or Chamberlan.

  • T. Roberts

    And by the way Nash haters, tell me Nash doesn’t belong in the hall of fame! The short white Canadian is only:
    8th alltime in assists
    2nd alltime in free throw percentage
    7th alltime in three point shooting
    The only player to accomplish the 50/40/90 shooting percentages in four different seasons.
    Nash is one of the top ten shooters/passers in NBA history.

    Comment: Nobody argues with his passing skills, being 8th on the list of assists is a great achievement. Thank goodness it’s also a tribute to the players that are around you i.e.; Stockton to Malone, without a finisher like Malone, Stockton wouldn’t have the numbers he has. Now as far as his 3 pt. shooting percentage, the top 10 or more aren’t Hall-of-Famers are they? however if you look at the top list of those who made the most 3 pointers since they started keeping records in 79, you see quite a few Famers, unfortunately Steve is not even in the top 30 on that list. Same scenario with free throws, in the top 10, look at the number of free throws attempted by the true Famers, Barry, Allen, Miller and Bird, all have nearly twice as many attenpts as Nash and Reggie Miller nearly 4 times as many yet a minor difference in percent. All 4 of them averaged over 20 points per game, while Nash’s career average is only 14.6. Although Nash has a greater percentage, his inability to get to the line as well as consistently score, limits his offensive contribution from the line especially when compared to true hall-of-famers.

    Now tell me this, since when did the 50/40/90 shooting percentage come into play? Only as a rational for supporting his MVP case. The problem with that stat is it doesn’t take into consideration number of attempts. Find one hall-of-famer that the stat is featured anywhere in there BIO! Now for the correction, he has achieve this stat 3 consecutive years not 4 and three years my friend does not a hall-of-famer make. His career stats are: FG% 48.9, 3PT% 43.2 and FT% 90.3 and if you look at his career assist totals he’s pretty average for an All-Star PG at 8.3 APG. Now that comment about being one of the NBA top 10 shooters/passers in history? NOT! Not unless you also say he’s one of the top guards in NBA history for turnovers, most playoff games without an NBA finals appearence and only NBA 2 time MVP not to win a Championship. Now whether Nash belongs in the Hall Of Fame will be up to the voters and they will be forced to put him there as a result of his MVP’s however I hope they make him wait just a litle while so as to put some legitimacy back into the MVP award process.

    I credit Nash for his durability and team persona, but he isn’t the M.J. Kobe, Bird, Magic, Chamberlain or Russell type of superstar many people want him to be. All told A.I. is much more of a hall-of-fame guard than Nash. Although he didn’t have the players surrounding him like Nash has, he was as durable, scored more and consistently, defended fearsly and lead his team with no other legitimate All-Stars I might add, to the NBA finals.

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  • Chris Shellcroft

    T. Roberts,

    All great points! I feel the same way about CP3 in relation to Steve Nash. Not to mention Deron Williams doing for Utah what Nash has done for Phoenix in many regards also.

    Whatever the case, Nash is a great player who by no fault of his own was propped up as an all-time great. Nash apologists can miss me with all the stats. We measure NBA greatness by rings and nothing else. Like I said, if KB24 had two MVPs but never played in the Finals, he’d never catch a break from the pundits. All you’d hear is how overrated he is.

  • sd24

    Well, I must start out by saying that T. Roberts must be a surgeon because with tremendous precision he sliced up the 50/40/90 myth for what it is. Yes, it sounds good but when he applied statistical comparisons to legitimate hall of famers bodies of work, Nash’s 50/40/90 is just good. Additionally, when you consider Larry, Reggie, Ray and Rick commanded double and triple teams his shooting accomplishment is watered down even more. Said differently, no coach stays up at night devising defense schemes to stop Nash @ 15 pts.

    Now, for you folks spewing “8th in all time assists” listen carefully. For as much dribbling as he does prior to an assist Nash should be the all-time assist leader. He simply plays glorified street ball however, interestingly enough no one has ever pointed it out to my knowledge. So when you peel back the onion you will see this, he get’s mucho credit for running the offense but loosy goosy does not win championships in the NBA. You must have a half court offense to win, even Magic and Showtime realized this. Therefore, in essence he hurts the Suns while doing what he supposedly does best, to deep for ya. Okay, historically he has the dubious distinction of possessing one of the worst assist to turnover ratios among the “best” points in the league. Consequently, when he gets 12 assist and 5 turnovers should he really be credited for 12 or 7 assists? Lets take it a step further, as T. Roberts pointed out he has average less than a steal for his career which means when he jumps in the air and throws the ball away he does not make up for it defensively. Lastly, let me add the majority of his assists come from behind the three point line but he gets more recognition for delivering the pass than his teammates for nailing the 3.

    Face it, no matter how many offensive stats pundits and Nash lovers come up with…he is just a part time employee. Yes, he is the quarterback however, unlike Peyton he is responsible for defense as well. Would Michael, Kobe, Larry,Jerry, etc. allow coach put someone on his man because he could not guard him? Would Mr Thomas, Mr. Stockton, Mr. Magic allow the coach to take the best athletes in the world and force them to put their hands in the air and guard an area…heck NO. They all have too much pride. Yet, with a full understanding of his lack of desire to defend he comes out and guarantees a home win against the Lakers…ooops 4 defenders against Kobe and the gang will not get it done Stevie. Please explain how a part-time player can be given two mvps and be constantly referred to as the two time mvp as if it were his nickname with nothing to show for it? Lebron, would have not won back to back mvp awards unless he worked on his defensive game. Why then is okay for you Nash lovers to never bring up defense when showering Nash with undue praise? Oh well, you can twist the truth and play with stats all you want but when all is said and done he did not get it done.

  • T.Roberts

    Thanks Chris for the shout and SD24 you made some excellent points. Chis you summed it up accurately, he is a fab player that has been propped up for whatever reason to be an all time great. Look at all the fall out Lebron has had to deal with by not going to the finals, he’s been consistantly critisized by pundents for not getting it done, yet statistacally his numbers and level of improvement, as SD24 indicated, defensively, is off the charts. I have read some pretty scathing articles about Lebron being a 2 time MVP and not winning a championship or making it to the finals; However Nash gets a pass. J.A. needs an intervention with some tape on CP3 and D. Williams, then without glorifying or overly critisizing Nash, he can place his skills and accomplishments in context and stop over exaggerating his contributions and greatness.

  • T.Roberts

    Hey Chris, go check out my full response to J.A. at his ESPN post. I had to go to my archives on his behind. I’m Sixnine44.

    http://myespn.go.com/s/conversations/show/story/5200903

  • sd24

    T. Roberts, great analogy of how LeBron is treated for not winning a championship yet. Might I add that Nash has always had far superior talent around him than King James but unlike LeBron he has never made it to the finals.

    Did you Chris and myself scare off all the Nashers? lol

    T. Roberts, I can’t give high praise to someone who does not give his all, it’s just not fair to those who do.

  • Adam

    MVP awards are for winning in the season. Don’t forget that. They are awarded at the start of the playoffs. Playoff performance has nothing to do with MVP trophies. There is of course correlation, but there is not any causation.

    If you look at the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons, it’s difficult to argue with the awards. In retrospect people say he wasn’t deserving, but if you break down the regular season numbers for both other candidates and their teams in those two seasons there is no other legitimate stand out.

    2004-2005: He had the whole cast (Johnson, Stoudemire, Marion) — they were a last place team the year before! It doesn’t matter how talented they are, there’s no way a team can make a turn around like that without some outside factor.

    2005-2006: He had neither Stoudemire or Johnson. He took a star studded team with the likes of: Tim Thomas, Raja Bell, and Boris Diaw to the WCF. He did have Marion but big whoop…he’s averaged 13 ppg since leaving Nash and the suns.

  • Pmic

    lmao @ how pissy people get when people tell the truth about Nash…his career stats arent even close to being HOF worthy….hes behind in assists to Mark Jackson and Rod Strickland….two guys that won’t make the HOF. these last 5 years in Phoenix stats shouldnt even count…oe f course numbers are going to be inflated when you don’t play defense and just run and gun all game, Look at the GS Warriors..Montae Eliis isn’t close to the player his numbers say he is. Steve Nash is a good PG…hes a step below Mark Price to me….another guy NOT in the HOF

  • Josh

    I like how LA fans make their own blog to hate on nash

    keep crying because Steve Nash is probably number 5-9 on the greatest PG’s of all time

    enough said

    out

  • http://SPLIFTOUT.BLOGSPOT.COM SPLIFTOUT

    IVE BEEN SCREAMIN’ THIS SAME THING FOR ABOUT 5YRS HE IS A WARRIOR BUT HE’S SUPER-OVERRATED AND YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD WITH THE WHOLE MARKETING ASPECT OF HIM WINNING THE MVP… KOBE SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST 3 OR 4 HE COMPLETELY DOMINATED THE LEAGUE FOR YRS AND TOOK A MERRY CREW OF BUMS TO THE PLAYOFFS AND SHOWED US THINGS WEVE NEVER SEEN IN BASKETBALL LIKE 81 PTS… AND THEY GIVE IT TO NASH WHEN HE HAD AN AVERAGE STOCKTON LIKE SEASON… STOCKTON NEVER BEAT OUT MAGIC OR JORDAN FOR MVP’S SO WHY THIS ERA ?