Ranking the Top 10 Point Guards in the NBA

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7. Steve Nash

Feb 10, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash (10) dribbles against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

What can I say about Steve Nash that hasn’t already been said?  Two-time MVP, four-time member of the 50-40-90 club, and someone who has the unique distinction of being screwed over by both the league office and Tim Donaghy in the same playoff series.

It’s hard to argue that any point guard in the league had more of an impact on their respective teams in the past 10 years than Steve Nash did with the Phoenix Suns, and it’s not a coincidence that many of Nash’s teammates in Phoenix enjoyed the best run of their careers when they were running the break with Nash at the helm.

So with all of this praise I’m heaping onto him, why is Nash ranked seventh?  For one, his best years are undoubtedly behind him, and while career accomplishments are taken into account, these rankings are based on who is the best NBA point guard right now.  Nash is 39 years old.  He’s battled injuries in his first year as a Laker, and when he’s on the floor he has certainly become a liability on the defensive end as he tries to keep up with younger, quicker guards (although some of this can be attributed to the lack of cohesion that has come to define the latest experiment in LA).

This can be overlooked when Nash is doing what he does best on offense, but that production isn’t quite there yet either.  He’s currently averaging 12 points and seven assists.  When you adjust that per 36 minutes, it jumps up a bit to 13 and eight, but if this continues it would be the lowest assist average for Nash since 2000.

Is all of this Nash’s fault?  Not necessarily.  The Lakers have recently shown signs of turning things around, and one of the reasons is that Kobe has become the facilitator in the offense as opposed to Nash, who is now getting more scoring opportunities as a spot up shooter playing off the ball.

Everyone looked at the Lakers’ slow, older roster and wondered how they were going to run Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense.  The answer so far has been that the players are taking on different roles than what they’re used to, and Nash may be the biggest example of that.  The pick-and-roll game that people envisioned with Dwight Howard is not really happening, and the Lakers don’t have the three-point shooters that Phoenix had when Nash could penetrate and dish to add to his assist totals.

Add all of this up and it’s understandable that his numbers are going to take a hit.  Ultimately he won’t be judged by his numbers in L.A.  There’s only one thing they use to measure success in Lakerland, and that’s championships.  If Nash doesn’t win one, his time in Southern California will be deemed a failure.

As far as the ranking, these young players ahead of him have simply gotten too good to put him any higher.