Will SHOWTIME return?
Not since the Ervin Johnson piloted “Showtime” in the 80′s and 90′s have the LA Lakers had such a dynamite point guard.
While Derek Fisher provided a steady bulldog approach and was one of the select few teammates not to back down to the demands of a certain Lakers shooting guard, he was the polar opposite to what Steve Nash will bring to the team this season.
Nash from day one will be able to come in and run the show, making sure that the scoring load and ball distribution is at the right time and in the right place.
In the past few years, opposing defenses have laid off of the Lakers pg’s, almost welcoming the streaky shooters to launch away. With Nash, a three time 50/90/40 shooter (field goal/free throw/3 pointers), defenders are going to have to play the Canadian guard not just off the dribble, but also on his shot.
Last year, under coach Mike Brown, it seemed as if the majority of the roster was in the dark as to who was where and doing what after nearly a decade of running the infamous triangle offence. When things broke down for the Lakers, as it appeared to more often than fans would have liked to see, the ball started and predictably ended in the hands of Kobe Bryant.
This year, the addition of Nash will take the decision making away from Bryant and therefore allow for a more balanced attack, with the ball being distributed evenly.
When the Lakers needed to advance the ball up court, Bryant took it upon himself to be the “judge” (determining what to run), “jury” (weighed his options, shoot over the man to man, shoot over the double team / triple team, or pass) and “executioner” (SHOOT!). With Nash, Bryant will be free to play off the ball and conserve his energy, finding more open shots and easy baskets off of Nash’s drives and kick outs.
The one player that should benefit the most from the addition of Nash will be Pau Gasol.
Often found wondering the perimeter last season, outside of his impact zone, Gasol had his worst statistical season during his tenure with the Lakers.
Yes in theory, it’s great to have Gasol step outside in order to open up the paint for Andrew Bynum, now Dwight Howard. However doing this limited his effectiveness, which was better served attacking the basket off of a pick and roll or on mid-range shots from no further than the top of the key.
Running a two man game with Nash, Pau will be able to feed off of the Canadian point guard’s ability to find his big man in his comfort zone on a defensive mismatch (think Amare Stoudemire without the hops but better range).
Teaming with Nash will be similar to that of Gasol teaming with Ricky Rubio on the Spanish National Team.
Nash and D12 vs. CP3 and B. Griffin = LOB CITY BATTLE……..Nuff Said!
No matter which coach he has played for, Ian Hyde-Lay, Dick Davey, Jay Triano, Danny Ainge, Don Nelson, Mike D’Antoni or Alvin Gentry, Nash has always proven to be an extension of the coaching staff on the floor and in the locker room.
This role has been valuable for all the teams Nash has piloted, as the coaches entrust that Nash will make the most effective and efficient decision when running the offence.
Assuming that Mike Brown and company do their proper job coaching and not shackle Nash’s uptempo style as Terry Porter once did, then the Lakers are bound to see an increase in their overall offensive output by at least five to seven points a game.
Dreams have become a reality for Steve Nash ever since he picked up a basketball. BC High School Championship…check, NCAA scholarship…check, appearance in March Madness…check, NBA career…check, All-Star appearances…check, NBA MVP…double check, Canadian basketball icon…CHECK, championship ring…………
The 2012-13 Lakers roster is Nash’s best chance to raise a championship banner, with a more powerful roster than he ever saw in Dallas or Phoenix. While Dirk Nowitzki, Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and Joe Johnson all reached star status level thanks in large part to playing with Nash, none of those players have the motivation to prove that Nash and his Lakers teammates have.
Nash knows that Kobe’s competitive desire is second to none and is chasing the elusive sixth title to match Michael Jordan. Howard has an image in desperate need of repair following this summer’s almost childish decision making.
Gasol wants to prove that last season was just an off year, related to all the change and rumored trade talks.
IF Nash is able to guide this roster to the Larry O’Brien trophy in June, he will not only cement a legacy as one of the all time elite point guards, but he will in the process be dropping three of the greatest assists in his career.