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Phoenix Suns

Updated Jan 30, 2013 - 12:50 pm

Suns' Marcin Gortat really misses Steve Nash

Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash reacts with Marcin Gortat during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Friday, March 23, 2012, in Indianapolis. Phoenix won 113-111. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

In case you've been under a rock, or just ignoring the Phoenix Suns this season, Steve Nash will make his return to the Valley Wednesday night as a member of the hated Los Angeles Lakers.

Most knew that Nash's departure from Phoenix, whenever it happened, would change the appearance of the Suns roster and direction of the organization. It has. Phoenix is 15-30 and tied with the New Orleans Hornets for the worst record in the Western Conference.

Predictably, it's not only fans who miss seeing Nash in purple and orange. Count Suns center Marcin Gortat in that category, too.

"I miss Steve," he said. "I'm not going to deny it. I do miss him, I miss him a lot."

Gortat, who was on the receiving end of many a pick-and-roll assist from Nash, has seen his scoring average decrease by nearly four points per game this season while playing the same number of minutes.

"I didn't believe it was going to be like that this year," Gortat said. "Last year when we were finishing the season and people were talking about Steve leaving the team, I was like 'at the end of the day, if he leaves, I'll be fine anyway'. Well, it's different."

Gortat's stats aren't the only difference for the Suns Nash. Through 45 games a year ago, Phoenix was 23-22 and attendance at US Airways Center this season has slipped by over 600 fans per game.

"Right next to Charles Barkley, he's probably the second-most important person in this franchise," Gortat said about his former teammate. "He was great, he's a great role model, on the court, off the court. I mean hands down, the guy is just super good, super great."

About the Author

School: Arizona State University

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: October 2011

Favorite sports memory: Watching Cardinals win NFC Championship over Philly in January 2009 with my Dad...ASU wins 1987 Rose Bowl...Suns defeat Lakers in 1990 NBA Playoffs...2001 World Series

Favorite all-time athletes: Don Mattingly, Jeff Hornacek, Walter Davis, Anquan Boldin

Favorite sports movies: Friday Night Lights, The Natural, Hoosiers


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