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Appreciating Steve Nash

To trade or not to trade Steve Nash?

Nope. Not this column.

See, Steve turned 37 today (Happy Birthday Steve!) and I didn’t want to write about what the Suns should do with the two-time MVP.

Instead, I want to sit back and just enjoy what Nash brings and has brought to the table throughout his 15-year career.

Suns fans have been spoiled silly by Nash’s remarkable skillset (and they still are). While some are ready to move on (and I don’t necessarily disagree), I’m just going to appreciate the greatness that is Steve Nash night in and night out.

Nash’s body should be breaking down but it’s not. He’s started 46 of the Suns’ 48 games this season and is playing 33 minutes a game.

While many say he should have lost a step or two from five years ago, the numbers say otherwise. In watching him I have to say I agree with the numbers.

Even with the Suns currently sitting in 10th place with a record of 23-25, Steve Nash is still out there being Steve Nash.

This season through 46 games Nash is averaging 16.7 points per game with 11 assists. His scoring is good enough for 7th among point guards. Assists he is only behind Boston’s Rajon Rondo. His assist to turnover ratio is just below three to one.

In Nash’s two MVP seasons (2005 and 2006) he was putting up 17.2 points and 10.5 assists per game.

The Suns were having success as a team and therefore Nash was being praised throughout the league. Now, with those numbers previously mentioned he doesn’t even make the All-Star team. His supporting cast isn’t the same but it’s hard to argue Nash has showed his age much.

Looking past the numbers – which is what really makes me grateful to have seen him up close – he still finds ways to weave in and out of traffic, find the open man when the defense doesn’t expect it, and hit an acrobatic or three-point shot if he needs to (his field goal percentage is the second highest of his career).

Nash scored in double digits in all 15 of the Suns’ games in the month of January, at 8-7 it’s their only winning month of the season.

A specific recent game (January 12) of Steve Nash being Steve Nash was when the Suns came back from down 15 early in the fourth quarter to the New Jersey Nets and ended up winning in overtime. Nash had 23 points, 16 assists and 7 rebounds. He went 11 for 11 from the line. He scored 16 of those points in the last seven minutes of the fourth quarter and OT.

After a six-player trade in mid-December the Suns have been trying to find consistency on the court.

One player specifically has benefitted from becoming Nash’s teammate and is putting up big (and career) numbers because of it.

Marcin Gortat understands why he is having the recent success he has been having.

“Steve Nash is the offense of the Phoenix Suns,” Gortat said last week. “He creates everything for everybody. The team without him would be fifty-percent worse, honestly.”

OK, he may have been exaggerating a little bit but you read that right. Gortat said the team would be FIFTY-PERCENT worse without Nash. (Fans ready to move on, hit rock bottom and start re-building may be happy to hear that, but again, we’re not here to discuss that.)

Gortat has averaged 17.8 points over the last five games. His shooting percentage is 61% for those games.

And we can’t forget about Nash’s board work this season. Yes, rebounding.

Nash knows this team is hurting down low and struggles to rebound the ball. So what does he do about it? He rebounds the basketball. Nash is averaging 3.7 rebounds this season, second highest total of his career.

Meanwhile, center Robin Lopez is averaging a pathetic 3.5 rebounds a game.

Nash is the ultimate team player, always has been, and as long as he’s in a Suns jersey I’m going to take the time to realize just how special of a player I’m watching. … The NBA Gods only know it may be years (and years) before Phoenix sees a similar point guard come along.

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TY’s Outtakes – Super Bowl Sunday Edition

What I learned Sunday…

It’s possible for the NFL to sell more tickets than they have seats in a 90,000+ stadium. I was in utter shock when the NFL Network made Rich Eisen report on a “Developing Story” of not enough seats with less than four hours to kickoff.

Tweet of Sunday…

From @ReutersSport: Christina Aguilera fumbles lyrics at the Super Bowl http://bit.ly/gaewdb

… If you read Thursday’s post you’ll know that one meant even a little more to me. Thanks, Christina.

Suggestions from Sunday…

Hey, it grabbed and kept my attention the entire time.