Steve Nash has been very, very good to Suns fans for 8 years. 2 MVPs, 3 conference finals, 161-point games, making us all briefly care about Jim Jackson again. And now, free agent Steve is about to take his huge, swinging balls to another NBA city. I for one can’t wait to let the baby bird fly the nest, and this is because Steve’s unselfishness rubbed off on fans just as much as it did on Boris Diaw when standing unguarded under the basket. The Suns are done, and you can bet your Bassy Telfair I’m jumping ship and rooting for Steve’s next team to win the championship in 2013.
So which team will it be? This is not necessarily an exercise in finding the best fit for Nash, but a purely selfish quest to determine the team that I, a Suns fan since 1992, will feel most comfortable rooting for to win next year’s title. Important to note: this list makes no projections about roster construction by the end of the off-season (with one notable exception), and it’s salary cap-agnostic. It does take into account the team’s current PG situation, hence no Boston or OKC.
Quick recap: Steve Nash averaged 12.5/10.7 with 53%/39%/89% shooting on a team that started Shannon Brown and still finished .500. So, yeah, dude can still ball a little bit.
30. Los Angeles Lakers
Steve said in a recent interview that it would be difficult for him to put on a Lakers uniform, what with them being Phoenix’s arch nemesis and all. I think I believe him. However, the Lakers haven’t had a pure, do-it-all point guard since Smush Parker so this move makes sense for them. HUMOR. I don’t even want to see crudely-executed Photoshops of this.
Look, man. I get it. You’re loyal to a fault. You were drafted here. Your kids were born here. You helped countless Valley families save on energy bills by switching to APS. But look at what’s left of this team. Your best friend Grant Hill is a free agent (uhh, hasty Grant Hill wishlist: OKC, Miami, New York). There’s a promising young-ish center, Marcin Gortat, who can only be considered promising when being passed the ball by you. Jared Dudley has a good Klout score. Seriously, Steve, don’t even give this lip service.
9. Portland or Houston
I have literally no idea who is on either of these teams since Portland has eight free agents and Houston got drunk on trading and/or drafting last week. They both seem like a couple of “cusp” Western conference fringe contenders that haven’t had upper-echelon rosters in over a decade and are a piece or two away from being League Pass darlings, at least. I did laugh at the Rockets clearing space for Dwight Howard though; that was cute.
Steve signing here makes a ton of sense – it’s a small market team that is “plucky,” they would have the most balanced starting 5 in the league, and Nash grew up rooting for this team as a boy when they played in his hometown of Vancouver. They would be really fun and the clear #2 team in the West but BLUH I don’t really want to root for the Grizzlies so let’s move on.
7. San Antonio
A meeting of the minds. The smartest basketball coach and the game’s smartest point guard. San Antonio led the NBA in points/100 possessions and 3-point % last year, and with Nash in tow we would actually see those stats come to life since I can’t wrap my mind around those things being true of the freaking Spurs. Plus, now that it appears Chris Brown may have ruined another face, the Spurs might legitimately need a point guard.
All the years Steve spent married to a Spanish-speaking woman have led him to this moment. A Nash/Rubio backcourt would set a record for fewest average dribbles during fast breaks, kill the fundamental chest-pass as a thing that Minneapolis youths want to practice, and lead to the institution of a new 3-point line, except it’s from your own free throw line, and it’s for alley-oops.
NBA fans are amped, I guess, for the potential D-Will/D-How combo in BK. Pairing Nash with these two whiny coach-killers, though, leaves me a little cold. They’re up this high because this Nets team would be decidedly awesome, with Williams and Howard covering pretty much all of Nash’s deficiencies (especially defensively) and the fact that the Barclays Center is a 20 minute walk from my apartment. Hova. Rooting for the game’s ultimate “team” guy and having to also take on two megalos is only slightly worse than the one I’d have to adopt in…
4. New York
The yin and yang (this is NOT a Jeremy Lin racial pun) of my favorite player of all-time and my least favorite active player, Carmelo Anthony. Steve Nash is the antithesis of hero ball and Carmelo was magna cum laude at K.B. Bryant Fadeaway Buzzer 3 Institute, so what seems like an obvious landing spot is slightly less exciting for me. I know Steve Novak loves it though.
I’ve never understood why most sports fans and media like parity so much. Having a clear, hierarchical structure of the haves and have-nots makes for sustained, meaningful rivalries over time and creates better storylines when the underdog does finally does rise up and take down the dynasty. I liked it when the Patriots were winning all the Super Bowls and rooted for the Spurs to win the Finals even in years they had to have the league help them beat Phoenix. What I’m trying to say is that the Heat would win 75 games with Steve Nash next year.
The Mavs looked hungover last year and got swept by OKC in the first round. When the Mavs used to look hungover, it was because of nights like this. Now that vets Dirk, Terry, Marion and the like have their ring, infusing some ringlessness in the form of a former teammate would re-ignite some fires. There’s a weird sort of kinship between Phoenix and Dallas – a lot of fan favorites have played for both – so let’s bring Michael Finley back and make this happen.
Steve Nash goes out of his way to appear unselfish and thoughtful and like he does things for the right reason. He’d never admit to selling out for a championship, so the Pacers are the best team that Nash would feel not guilty/embarrassed to “ring-chase” with. This is an unproven bunch that entered the national consciousness (#3 seed, remember) by waking up Miami in the second round. They’re just really Nash-like: mentally tough, no frills, and sort of mysterious (possibly Republican though). They’re also really good. Also, if they re-sign Leandro Barbosa and Lou Amundson, the 2012-13 Pacers could field a
lineup with 3 out of 5 players from a Suns team that was 2 wins from the Finals in 2010. That’s something you can’t say about…the 2012-13 Suns.
I swear I didn’t pick Indiana to make a good first post impression with this site’s editor. But hey y’all.