Retired future Hall of Famer Steve Nash will be joining the Golden State Warriors as a part-time player development consultant. Nash has close ties to several Warriors coaches and top brass from his Phoenix days, who, when push came to shove, were able to put the full court press on and convince Nash to join the Warriors parade.
It’s a no-brainer from the Warriors point of view to bring Nash on board. Steph Curry has long said the player he most admired, wanted to be like, copied and revered was Steve Nash. Nash and Curry have similar talents. Nash was a magician with the ball but lacked explosiveness, was a 43% three point shooter, made players better, and controlled the tempo of the game while at the same time affirmed the talents of his teammates. Same for Curry. Both have been league MVP’s, won 60 games in a shock to the league, and gave defenses headaches.
What was visible on the surface the last two years was a broken Steve Nash. But behind the scenes of his injury campaigns with the Lakers, Nash was instrumental in player development with the Lakers young guards, particularly last season with Jordan Clarkson, a 47th draft pick who became Rookie of the Month in March and a member of the All-Rookie team.
There is no perfect NBA player, not even Steph Curry. Nash’s intellect at the position can provide a unique lens to allow Curry to further his growth. At 27, Curry is on the precipice of his basketball prime.
It is a tribute to Nash’s character that so many want his services. The Dallas Mavericks were hoping he would join them in a similar position. It was the Mavericks, and Mark Cuban in particular, who didn’t believe Nash would be a viable player in his mid-thirties. It opened the door for Mike D’Antoni to pitch his Seven Seconds or Less offense to Nash, enticing Nash to leave Dallas.
Nash was the MVP of the league, twice. The offense he ran made history and revolutionized basketball. Every NBA team has adopted some version of the Phoenix system that made Steve Nash one of the most popular and adored players in the NBA.
This summer Nash has been with the Canadian national team. It was the beginning of his post-NBA life but his NBA career is not that far in the rearview mirror that it’s forgotten. Just the opposite. Nash’s career was a spectacular and extraordinary achievement, one that was heartbreaking in its cruelty. Nash could never get to the NBA Finals, the only NBA MVP other than Derrick Rose to make that claim. He was an iconic shooter, career 49%, a generous and kind teammate, averaging 9 assists per game over his career. But something always happened to prevent him from the NBA Finals. Either it was Tim Duncan and the Spurs, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers or Mike D’antoni and his deplorable defense.
Steph Curry, excited by the prospect of working with Nash, and wanting to get in a humorous dig at his coach, Steve Kerr said:
“Finally we have a decent coach around here.”
Steve Nash will be more than decent. Like everything else he attempts, he will be great.
photo via Wikimedia.org