The hard truth? Nash knows Suns lack talent
Steve Nash is a smart guy.
At 37-years-old he is as worldly as any player in the NBA
– and maybe sports, in general.
And, having listened to the way he answers questions, it
would be safe to say he doesn’t just “say things.” No,
every word the Suns star gives a reporter is done with
purpose and for a reason.
Needless to say, the veteran’s words after Tuesday’s tough
home loss to the Raptors were a little surprising.
“We just don’t have the talent to, you know, go out there
and win games,” he said. “We’ve got to find a little bit
something extra, we’ve got to find a little magic and our
chemistry, our cohesion – we haven’t found it yet.”
A player saying the team just doesn’t have enough talent
to win games is not something you generally hear – or want
to hear, really – but with the Suns struggling to a 6-11
mark it would be disingenuous of Nash or anyone else to
say everything is just fine on Planet Orange.
However, maybe those words, while troubling, could be
chalked up to the frustration of another tough loss, as
the game had only recently ended.
But then came Thursday’s words.
“We’re a team in transition so we don’t have a complete
roster, so we can’t expect to be at the top,” Nash said,
noting that the team can expect to improve.
They’re not improving, though, and Nash said the
organization has made it clear that it is going to wait
until the summer to make any moves. So, what they have now
is what they’ll have the rest of the way, and it’s not too
early to see that it just won’t be enough to make this
Is Nash frustrated? Probably, and with good reason.
Twenty months ago the Suns swept the San Antonio Spurs
right out of the playoffs. Twenty months ago Nash was
battling with Kobe Bryant for a chance to play in his
first NBA Finals. Twenty months ago the Suns were one of
the best teams in the Western Conference – just as they
had been for most of Nash’s tenure in Phoenix – and played
to a sold-out US Airways Center on a nightly basis.
Nash has seen plenty of talented players leave the Valley
since he returned to the Suns in 2004, though each time he
was able to elevate the play of those around him enough to
make everything alright.
He was able to turn water into wine, so to speak, as role
players would find new life as starters and castoffs would
become integral pieces on a championship roster. “Steve
makes everyone better” became a motto of sorts, and true
as it may have been, it was also unfair.
And, now, it’s an unrealistic idea.
It’s not that Nash isn’t any good, as his numbers would
indicate he’s playing a level similar to the one that
landed him a couple of MVP awards back in the day. The
points are there, the assists are there and the shooting
percentage is there. The only thing that’s missing is the
wins, and those, unfortunately, are not on the way.
“We can’t go out and look around and talk about our talent
or whatever,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said, noting that he
just wants maximum effort from his team. “I’m not going to
sit here and whine about what we don’t have because that
does us zero good.”
Seventeen games into the season the Suns understand what
they are: a team seriously lacking in too many areas to
compete. That’s not going to change, though, as there will
be no reinforcements, no late-season signing, no playoff
All there will be is Steve Nash and his band of role
players, a flawed group that, for all the effort and
cohesion they may be able to muster, will ultimately fall
short of even the most modest of goals.