By Craig Kwasniewski
Let's jump right into it, here are my thoughts on Nash coming to the Lakers:
This is the best deal the Lakers could get. Before July 4th, the Lakers realistically had three options regarding their PG spot: sign Ramon Sessions to a 4 year-$24 mil.-ish contract, find a free agent willing to take the $3 mil. mini-mid (Ray Felton or Kirk Heinrich...*vomits*) or trade Pau Gasol at 25 cents on the dollar (*DRY HEAVES*). Realistically, none of the three would have improved their title chances.
The Laker basically got him for nothing! Nash for the Odom trade exemption, two 1st round picks and two second round picks...this deal is a brilliant as the Gasol one back in 2008. Mitch Kupchak has done it again!
Already I'm reading about Nash's age, his defensive skills (or lack thereof) and a potential Kobe conflict. All are good points but they need to be taken in the context of the Lakers realistic alternatives. You can't compare the deal directly to Westbrook or Rondo or any other young star PG. The Lakers specifically filled a gaping hole in their starting five with a Hall of Fame PG still capable of playing at an All-Star level for relatively nothing.
Ramon Sessions for the next 4 years or Steve Nash for the next 3, you tell me what's better?
Nash and Kobe will get along. I can't believe that this is an actual issue. So Kobe's gonna steal the inbounds and wave off one of the best point guards in NBA history because he want to drop a 40 spot??? Will Nash break out a "write what you see" by November? Obviously Kobe's a ballhog that wants nothing but individual glory. Of course!
Kobe's in it for legacy. He knows with one more title he passes Magic as the franchise leader (BTW - also one more than Fisher) and catches Michael Jordan. This puts him in the argument as both greatest Laker ever and one of the greatest in NBA history. He knows he can't win one without Steve Nash running the offense. He knows to trust Nash's playmaking down the stretch. More importantly, he knows having Nash on the floor will create better shot opportunities (watch the tape, OKC literally dared Sessions to score while double and triple teaming Kobe. No team will leave Steve Nash WIDE OPEN with the game on the line).
Kobe knows his window for a title with the Lakers is open for two more years. They'll be fine.
Steve Nash's defense won't hurt the Lakers. Well, the Lakers brought in Mike Brown because of his defensive scheming. So we all should feel confident that Mike will improve the team defense to compensate for Nash on D. Trust in Mike is what ALL Lakers fans always say. Done and done.
KIDDING... or maybe not.
I think Mike Brown great defensive assistant and a terrible head coach (honestly, I'm a little worried about how he manages Nash's minutes). But he'll get the team to buy into a defensive scheme that will make up for Nash's weakness on D. Seriously! I actually trust Mike Brown will come though here. I'm very serious!
Realistically, with a two year window Lakers fans have no choice but to trust in Mike.
Age and health should NOT be a factor. True, Nash will be 41 when this contract ends. True, it's a speed game geared for youth. True, Nash has a lot of miles on his legs and, more importantly, his chronic back. I don't want to jinx this too much, but Nash is either 1 or 1A to Kobe Bryant maniacal understanding and conditioning of us body. Lakers should feel confident... let's move on.
I can't wait to watch Nash live on a nightly basis. Back in 2004 I was very skeptical of the Karl Malone signing. I hated those Jazz teams and couldn't stand that he stole the 1997 MVP award from Jordan. But watching him play night-in and night-out became a pleasure. I learned to respect his knowledge of the game and always finding a way to influence the outcome despite not knowing the Triangle Offense (at all!!!) or being a 40-year old power forward. He found ways to win and was clearly a leader. Damn you Scott Williams!!!
I'm looking forward to the exact same thing with Nash, but maybe even better. The first month will be a challenge trying to mesh together five former and current all-stars. I'm hoping to see the light bulb moment somewhere in mid-November when Nash's energy, enthusiasm and passing catches on with the entire roster. As talent challenged as the last two Suns teams were, they still all loved playing together on the floor and fell just short of the playoffs. I can't wait to see Nash put his stamp on the 2012-13 Lakers....
Now if he can only be throwing lobs to Dwight Howard.