There has been some pretty blasphemous talk going around L.A. since Steve Nash ditched the desert for the beach. Local sports talk radio has been blowing up with discussions of a revival of the Showtime era.
Now before we even dive into this let’s get something clear. There is only one Showtime era and there will never be another.
Please don’t confuse fast break basketball with Showtime hoops. The two are not the same.
Nash led an attack in Phoenix that featured very little half court ball but that doesn’t mean just cause he’s a Laker it equates to a return to Showtime.
Never forget Showtime was led by arguably the greatest player in the history of the game (Magic Johnson) being coached up by one of the most successful minds to ever enter the game (Pat Riley) that had a team comprised of Hall of Famers (James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and iconic role players (Byron Scott, Michael Cooper).
These Lakers feature an all-time great in Kobe Bryant and some legitimately talented players that are among the best to play during their generation. Yes, I realize Nash is going to get a Hall call but to me his accomplishments are slightly out of step with his true talent. Needless to say those two MVP awards were a little more political than they were deserved. But that’s another topic.
Today we’re talking about why the Nash era (which hopefully gives us at least two quality seasons) won’t be anything at all similar to Showtime.
Sure, the Lakers are going to get out in transition much more. They’ll be playing pick and roll hoops the way God intended it. They’ll even be scoring with more ease than we’ve seen since Showtime. But that does not equate Showtime.
Keep in mind the vets pulled aside Ramon Sessions to tell him he needed to ease off the gas pedal last season. Now Nash is sure to know when to run and when to walk but even his style will have to adjust. You’re just not going to be monopolizing the ball with KB24 on the roster.
No matter what you might think of the unselfish nature of Nash his game is predicated on controlling the game by keeping the rock in his possession as often as possible. Not saying Nash is Carmelo Anthony but like all point guards they need to control the flow by controlling the rock 90% of the time.
With Mike Brown’s inability to orchestrate a two man parade much less devise an effective offensive game plan you already know it’s going to be on Kobe and Nash to develop a hoops philosophy. Safe to say there will be stretches when Nash is more decoy than orchestrator. Which is fine because dude can still stroke it. Just don’t tell me were going to be watching the rebirth of Showtime. Magic never played with a Kobe and neither has Nash.
This is going to be a learning process as much as it is an experiment. In the past the general consensus has been to build around a big man. Then along came Michael Jordan and that theory was crushed under the weight of six Larry O’Brien trophies. Soon the hybrid of Kobe and Shaq created to a new approach to building a dynasty. Now we’ve got the Miami Heat who is exclusively a perimeter oriented attack.
That makes the Kobe and Nash experiment a true first of its kind. An elite level perimeter player paired with a top tier point guard while also featuring a true post player in Andrew Bynum not to mention Pau Gasol who was completely lost in Coach Brown’s offense.
Obviously the Lakers offense will instantly improve with Nash. He’ll make this team among the league’s elite in scoring through efficiency and effective decision making. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking this is going to become Seven Second or Less L.A. Style. Definitely forget about Showtime II.
This is going to be a new breed of offense the likes of which we’ve never seen. It’s going to be a learning process. It’s going to be fun. It’s also going to be painful at times. It will be an exciting new brand of ball but please don’t dare compare it to Showtime. Only way this becomes Showtime II is by hanging at least two more banners. Showtime wasn’t about entertainment. It was about winning after all.
Topics: Andrew Bynum, Byron Scott, Carmelo Anthony, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper, Michael Jordan, Mike Brown, Pat Riley, Pau Gasol, Ramon Sessions, Shaquille O'neal, Steve Nash