Nash: Top 5 Point Guards Ever?

2/21/13 in NBA   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

Feb 1, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 111-100. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY SportsAfter passing Magic Johnson to move into fourth on the all-time assists list, Steve Nash has his sights set on catching Mark Jackson in third.  With 10,144 career assists now, Nash trails Jackson by less than 200, so it’s quite possible he could move into 3rd all time by the end of the season, or at least early next year.  Then there’s just Jason Kidd at 12,006 and counting as well as John Stockton at the seemingly insurmountable total of 15,806.
 
At 39 years old, it’s unlikely Nash will pass Kidd, so he’ll probably finish his career 3rd all-time in assists.  It’s definitely an impressive feat, but where does he rank amongst the all-time great point guards?
 
THE CASE FOR NASH IN THE TOP 5:
 
Nash is best known for his ability to effortlessly weave through defenses, dancing his way around picks and always finding the man with the best scoring opportunity.  He’s quick, intelligent, and sees the court as well as anyone in the past 15-20 years.
 
But beyond his ability to set the table on the offensive end, Nash also has an extremely dangerous jumper that he uses quite resourcefully.  Check out these career averages: 49.2% FGs, 42.8% Threes, 90.4% FTs.  He’s always created a great balance between shooting and passing off, which is why his teams always rank amongst the top offensive teams in the league.
 
As for the hardware, Nash and Magic Johnson are the only two point guards to have won multiple MVP awards – (Oscar Robertson, Bob Cousy, and Derrick Rose all have one).  He’s an 8-time All-Star and 3-time first team NBA selection.
 
Jan. 12, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers guard (2) Kyrie Irving at the US Airways Center. The Cavaliers defeated the Suns 101-90. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsTHE CASE FOR NASH OUTSIDE THE TOP 10:
 
There are two main knocks on Nash’s game.  The first is that he’s never won a championship and although that could quite possibly change before all is said and done, Nash’s teams have a history of flopping in the playoffs.  He’s 0-4 in the Western Conference Finals and although none of his teams have been NBA Championship frontrunners, the Nash-Marion-Stoudemire squads certainly had the talent to make a run.  They just kept falling short.
 
The second knock on him is of course his defense.  When the Suns were at their best, they were consistently scoring over 100 points a game, but at the same time, they were letting opponents consistently get into triple digits as well. 
 
THE CONCLUSION:
 
For me, Nash gets the nod over Kidd slightly.  Kidd has just never been the same type of scoring threat Nash was in his prime and I’ve never trusted Kidd taking a clutch jumper nearly as much as Nash.  Comparing him with players from different eras is a bit trickier.  Stockton obviously has his place right near the top of the list, as does Magic.  Then there’s Isiah Thomas and Bob Cousy, both of which had more successful teams in their day.  Oscar Robertson would also have to be above Nash for me, but after that, I think he’s got a spot.  So here’s how my list of all time point guards finishes out:
 
1.Magic Johnson
2.John Stockton
3.Oscar Robertson
4.Isiah Thomas
5.Bob Cousy
6.Steve Nash
7.Jason Kidd
8.Gary Payton
9.Lenny Wilkens
10.Walt Frazier
 
I gave Magic the top spot because he was the best all around player while Stockton was the best “pure” point guard.  Payton and Wilkens at the top of their game were never as good as Nash in his prime and Frazier just didn’t have the longevity.
 
Where would Nash fall in your list?
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