The Phoenix Suns are the best team in the NBA because…

This may just be the most controversial post I have ever written. Many of you may not like what they hear and I can understand that but I ask you to bear with me as I present my case which I hope you will find to be very convincing, or at the very least relatively interesting. I also ask that you remember that I myself am Canadian as you read this post because it will help to better explain my opinion. I would like to argue that Steve Nash is NOT the greatest player in the league and that he is definitely NOT a two-time (pending the three-peat) MVP of the NBA (although I suppose that he is technically already a two-time MVP).

WHAAAAAAAT???

I know what your thinking…Steve Nash is so amazing, he has taken a decrepit Phoenix Suns team from absolute obscurity to an NBA Championship contender every single year in a Western Conference that is so superior to its rival East that an 8th seeded team in the West that will almost definitely lose in the first round, could easily win the Eastern Conference. I believe we all know the case for why Steve Nash is great and why he has won two MVPs so I won’t provide the other side for this argument. If you don’t know then you can just start reading any article ever written in the last 3 years on Steve Nash, it comes up eventually.

So why is Steve Nash not the greatest? Well thats an easy one. I am going to avoid the stats part of this argument because if anyone dares bring up the stats question into an MVP conversation arguing in favor of Nash, they would be committing conversational suicide. Nash’s stats are great but they are not unbelievable and over the last two years, there have been many players with similar as well as better stats than him who lost the MVP to Nash. The argument in favor of Nash is not about his stats but about what he brings to his team, therefore we can pretty much discount the stats part of this argument. The argument for Nash is the fact that he makes his teammates better in such dramatic fashion that he is deserving of two MVPs. So let’s see if thats true.

There are three all star players on the Suns and they have all been there for the last three years (if you don’t know who they are: Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudamire and Leandr…hehe jk…Steve Nash) which is when Nash’s assist average spiked from 8.8 the year before (his previous career high) to 11.5 (his first season with the Suns and his first MVP).

Lets discuss Marion First. Shawn Marion is one of the most versatile players in the NBA. This season alone he is averaging some extremely impressive statistics: 18.9 pts/game, 10.1 reb/game and 52.7% shooting. Now these stats are definitely not out of the ordinary for Marion who has averaged over 17 points per game every year since his rookie year. Last season as well as this season are his first two seasons he has shot over 50 percent however he is a fantastic career shooter averaging a career shooting percentage of 47.7%. He is also a career 10.1 reb/game rebounder. I give his career stats simply to show that Marion’s performance is in now way out of the ordinary and cannot be contributed to the addition of Steve Nash. Marion is a great offensive player but he is actually a very big defensive playmaker who has a career 1.9 steals/game and 1.3 blocks/game and changes the game every game thanks to his defense. He is one of the best small forwards in the league and definitely one of the most versatile and athletic players in the entire NBA (he even ranked himself 5th in the top 5 current dunkers in the NBA…Stoudamire was #3 lol).

Now Let’s discuss Amare. Stoudamire has been in the league for 5 years however he was injured for all but 3 games last year so its really more like four. Amare has a career average of 19.6 pts/game (excluding last season) and 8.9 reb/game, 0.9 steals/game and 1.4 blocks/game which is very good for such a young player. Definitely all star material wouldn’t you say? Not only that but he is shooting an unbelievable 60% this year and is a career 52.3% shooter! Thats absolutely amazing, even in today’s NBA. Amare Stoudamire is one of the top 10 centers in the league and I am positive many people would give him top 5. I know what your going to say…”Even without Amare, the Suns were still pretty damn good last year weren’t they?”. Very interesting point but lets look very closely at that argument. Two years ago, when Marion, Nash and Amare were all playing (remember thats three all stars) the Suns went 62-20 which is pretty amazing. The next year, without Amare the Suns went 54-28. That is an 8 game difference in record and although it made very little difference since they still won their division, we saw just how telling that absence of the big guy really was during the playoffs when the Lakers took a 3-1 game lead in the playoffs. Of course they self destructed and the Suns were able to come back and win the series but they still didn’t make it to the NBA Finals.

In fact, the Suns have never made it to the NBA Finals but I won’t hold that against Nash as I would not hold the fact that Manning has never been to the Superbowl (until now) against him. Steve Nash is a great player and definitely one of the best point guards in the league but I do not believe that a player on a team with three all stars in their starting five can really be classified as the MOST valuable player to his team. At this rate, with the requirements we have set, Nash will be getting the MVP every year for the next 10 years which is completely ridiculous. He’s great but let’s be honest, that TEAM is pretty great too.

Oh and by the way, if you even dare to say, “Well Jordan had three all stars on his team and he won back to back MVPs so why can’t Nash?” First remember who you would be talking about, the greatest basketball player who ever lived and second his stats were absolutely ridonvculous and cannot even be compared to Nash’s never mind the fact that he won the Championship both times…something Nash has yet to even challenge for. Oh yeah, and Jordan was a tenacious defender who made game changing plays on both ends of the court. Nash couldn’t defend a salt shaker.

Nash is great…he just isn’t two time MVP great.

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Posted in NBA, Sports. 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “The Phoenix Suns are the best team in the NBA because…”

  1. Mike Says:

    You stated that the Suns have never made it to the Finals. That is wrong! They played against your Elite Michael Jordan in the 92-93 season with Charles. So I suppose your going to reply well I meant the current SUNS. Ok I’ll give you that. However you put it teams are just that teams one individual does not win the games or Michael would have won the championiship every year he played.

  2. justanothersportsfanatic Says:

    I said in the post that I do not hold the fact that Nash has not made it to the NBA Finals against him just as I have never held it against a player like Peyton Manning.

    You’re right, I meant the current Suns but you make an interesting point about individuals winning championships. I said that the Suns are the best team in the league because they have three (yes count it three) all stars in their starting five (each in the top 5 of their respective positions) and yet they have never made it to the NBA Finals. I never said that Nash should be able to win it on his own but lets be honest, with the team they have and a two time MVP, they should have at least gotten there.

  3. spencer Says:

    I say let Nash earn a 3rd MVP. If he ends the season with 50% FG, 50% 3P, and 90% FT, something noone has ever done, combined with everything else he does, that should earn him a place among the immortals. He is close to those stats, but not quite there.

  4. Ross Haffner Says:

    The Suns are not better than the Mavs. Nash is deserving of his two MVPs. Allow me to defend my arguments. Teams are not based on the number of all-stars. Case in point the ’04 Detroit Pistons. How many all-stars did they have? The Mavs are a deeper team. The Mavs play defense. Just as a side note, how come every hated on the Mavs when they didn’t play defense just like the Suns now?
    Steve Nash is deserving of his two MVPs. How does the team do when he is hurt or on the bench? It is obvious that Nash does things on the court that NOBODY else in the NBA does, including J-Kidd. Nash is the best point guard in the league since Stockton. There is no possible way that Phoenix wins a playoff series without Nash. They would be a low seed and lose in the first round. Nash deserves all the credit he is getting.

  5. justanothersportsfanatic Says:

    First of all I never said that the Suns were better than the Mavs and I agree that they are not.

    Second, Nash is a great point guard…but look at the stats. The intangibles can only tell so much of a story. He does nothing new compared to what other point guards in the history of the NBA have done. He sees the court and sets up his players…umm, I’m pretty sure we just stumbled upon the definition of a point guard. He shoots a high percentage and he gets assists but what my point was that he is a benefactor of his teammates as much as they are of him. If you read my post you see that Nash’s assists average increases from single digits to double digits when he moves from Dallas to Phoenix while Marion’s and Stoudamire’s averages remain the same. This is very telling because it shows you that Nash is a product of his environment just as much as anyone else on that team is. Some players just work well in designed systems and Nash simply works well in the system Colangelo designed in Phoenix…which by the way, he has now brought VERY successfully to the Toronto Raptors.

    Nash is a great player…and a product of Phoenix’s system. He does not deserve TWO MVPs. Sorry.

  6. Ross Haffner Says:

    Doesn’t the title of the article state that the Suns are the best in the NBA? I respect your arguments and cannot refute them, but you have to admit that though other PGs in recent history have had players of Amare and Shawn’s caliber on their team, they have not put up the numbers that Steve has. May I ask, do you believe Nash is the best point guard in the NBA right now?

  7. justanothersportsfanatic Says:

    I have to completely disagree with you when you say that other point guards have not put up the numbers that Nash has, even with two other all stars. Nash’s numbers are great but they are not unbelievable…plenty of point guards in the history of the NBA have put up 20 points per game (which Nash has not done) and double digit assists per game and I challenge you to find a point guard who had two all stars on their team like Marion and Amare and didn’t put up numbers similar or better than Nash’s. The best example of Nash not being worthy of his MVP awards is comparing him to one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players, John Stockton. Check out Stockton’s numbers here (and he only had one all star in Malone while Nash has two) and I dare you to say that Nash’s numbers are better or more impressive and therefore he is deserving of two MVPs while Stockton never got one.

    Nash is the best point guard in the NBA depending on what you want out of your point guard. Most teams want a point guard like Nash, one who will set up his teammates and occasionally score on his own but look to control the floor and for that Nash is the best option. If a team wants a point guard who is an unstoppable scorer and can throw down 50 on any given night then Arenas is your man. It depends what you want but I’m pretty sure that the Wizards would not trade Arenas for Nash or at least not straight up anytime soon.

  8. j. Says:

    There’s a lot I disagree with in your writing – too much, it would require pages and pages to discuss every point of yours I disagree with.
    So for now I’ll stick with the comparisons between Arenas and Nash.
    Arenas is a great scorer, but Nash is also a very good scorer. He just doesn’t need to score a lot. But when he does need to, he steps up. In the beginning of this season, when Stoudemire still wasn’t fully back, Nash was leading his team in scoring, with over 20 points per game. Now that Stoudemire is back, Nash has stepped back a bit. But that scoring *ability* is always there for Nash.

    The difference between Arenas and Nash is that when Arenas is not having a good shooting night, he doesn’t have much else to contribute. When Nash is having a bad shooting night, he still controls the tempo and flow of his team’s game, and still, of course, sets his team up for all their high scoring.

    Look at the two games and Suns and Wizards played against each other this season.

    In their 1st meeting, Arenas scored 54 points with 5 assists, Nash scored 42 points with 12 assists. They both shot about 56%.
    Both had very impressive scoring nights, and both were responsible for roughly the same amount of points (when you factor in the assists).

    In their second meeting, Arenas scored 31 points on 44% shooting. He had 5 assists. Nash scored 27 points on 85% shooting, and had 14 assists.
    This time, Nash undoubtedly outdid Arenas.

    On the whole this season, Arenas is, as of this writing, averaging 29.4 points on about 43% shooting.
    He is averaging 6 assists.
    So, points plus assists, he is all or in part responsible for 41.4 – 47.4 of his team’s points per game.
    Nash is currently averaging 18.8 points on about 53% shooting, and 11.9 assists.
    So Nash is all or in part responsible for 42.6 – 54.5 of his team’s points per game.

    Anyway, my point is as I stated it – Arenas is, I believe, only somewhat a better scorer than Nash, and a much lesser playmaker.

    Add to that the fact that Arenas’ own coach has criticized his leadership ability. And that his own coach only started Arenas as the point guard in the All-Star game because he had to, but for most of the game had LeBron James or Chauncey Billups playing the position.

    You said you don’t think the Wizards would want to trade Arenas for Nash? I disagree – if the Wizards wanted to be a better team, I think they would gladly take Nash. Nash can score a lot, Nash can help the rest of his team to score a lot, he’s a true leader and does all the little things his team needs from him. I don’t see how trading Arenas for Nash would hurt the Wizards at all. It *would* make them a better team.

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