This column is a part of “Steve Nash Internet Day.” For more information visit www.brightsideofthesun.com
When the Suns signed Steve Nash before the 2004 season, I remember being pleased but not excited.
After all, the Suns were coming off of a down season in which they won 29 games, and the answer was signing a 30-year-old point guard? At best I thought the Suns were going to contend for the West’s fourth or fifth seed, and I saw no point in that.
But then the Suns raced to a 31-4 start, making believers out of myself and much of the basketball world. The run and gun style Nash led was exciting to watch, and the gaudy point totals put up by the team night after night were impressive.
But how much of it was Nash and not the outstanding talent around him? I mean, you had Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson and Shawn Marion, so it is not as if the Suns, sans Nash, were a bad team. But then the point guard got hurt.
It was in those first games that Nash missed where we saw his true value to the team, and when the rest of the league took notice that helped propel him to his first league MVP award. Many don’t think he deserved the award that year – myself included – but when he was named the league’s MVP the following season (I believe he deserved that one) Nash’s legacy as one of the Suns’ all-time greats was cemented.
Really, up until last year, Nash’s greatness was never questioned. I mean, you have a guy who could probably score 30 a night if he wanted to, but instead “settles” for averages of roughly 16 points and 11 assists per game. But, with him not getting any younger and the Suns seemingly falling from contention, many (including myself) felt it was best for the Suns and their great point guard to part ways.
Alas, the Suns don’t listen to me, and I can’t say I fault them right now. Nash and the Suns have returned to the form they showed during their great run, and I must say it is truly a sight to see. Playing as well as he ever has, Nash has led a new group of players to great heights, and is showing no signs of slowing down.
How far will the Suns go, now, with Nash? That remains to be seen. But where he took them in the past was thrilling, where he has them now is entertaining, and I’m excited to see how the rest of his career in Phoenix plays out.