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).
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.