Steve Nash: Best Player of This Generation

I’ve heard a lot of arguments about who the best player in the NBA is. I’ve heard everyone from Dwight Howard to Kobe Bryant. From Dwyane Wade to LeBron James. A lot of people seem to like players based on their favorite teams or players they see the most often. People use different things to justify their picks: field goal percentage, scoring, steals, blocks, clutch, leadership and team success. The argument that I find most intriguing is “do they make other players better?”. If following this line of thought, the answer to this question is obvious: Steve Nash.

Let’s look at the career stats of one Stephen John Nash: 14.6 points, 8.3 assists, 43 percent from three-point land and 3 rebounds. Great career stats for a 13 year point guard, don’t you think? Is he really worthy of best player honors based on those stats? Maybe not, but let’s look at other players numbers shall we?

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/s/stoudam01.html

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/mariosh01.html

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bellra01.html

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/d/dudleja01.html

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/r/richaja01.html

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/johnsjo02.html

Those are the stats of some of Nash’s teammates over the years. Let’s look at some trends here:

  • When playing alongside Nash, players get better looks as reflected by a higher field goal percentage.
  • After (or before) playing with Nash, player’s 3P% is lower than with him running the show. The most extreme examples being Joe Johnson and Shawn Marion.

Now let’s look at some of Mr. James’ teammates:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/i/ilgauzy01.html

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/willima01.html

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/westde01.html

Let’s look at some things:

  • Although Z shot a higher percentage, he scored less than before James got there.
  • Mo Williams actually shot worse overall and only increased his point differential by .8 a game.
  • Mo actually scored less last year than he was on pace to, looking at his career numbers.
  • Delonte West also shot worse.
  • West again had his scoring lowered in terms of projected career production.

Now let’s look at both players stat lines:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/n/nashst01.html

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jamesle01.html

James obviously takes the cake here. He scores a bunch of points while grabbing a ton of rebounds. He also hands out a lot of assists. He is also a superb defender while Nash is quite poor in a position that is key in today’s NBA. Let’s look at the shooting percentages and you will see the difference come into picture. Nash shoots a higher percentage across the board. James isn’t a great three point shooter but he chucked up over 300 shots the past two years.

Let’s look at a “big” teammate they both shared:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/o/onealsh01.html

Shaq actually shot a career high from the field with a full season under Nash. He also scored more points and grabbed more rebounds than he did with LeBron. In fact, all of his stats were better on a team that was more ill-suited for his play style. Does this alone make him a better player than LeBron? No.

Let’s look at this another way. Who raises his teammates up higher? If you’re an owner who has a weaker roster, who would you take? If you needed a pass first type who can play with multiple stars, who would you take? You’re down two at the end of the game, who would you rather have take the shot? Since this is all opinion, I can only throw my player into the ring. My only hope is that after seeing some of these numbers, you begin to put Nash into the conversation.

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~ by Prodigy on August 26, 2010.

One Response to “Steve Nash: Best Player of This Generation”

  1. I believe he is one of the all time greatest point guards of the league. And time and time again he has proved himself.

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