Steve Nash’s resume and impact on basketball in Canada made him a lock for NBA 75

Steve Nash’s resume and impact on basketball in Canada made him a lock for NBA 75

Steve Nash was named one of the 75 greatest players in NBA history after making the ‘NBA 75’ list, but has that ever been really questioned?

Undeniably one of the best point guard to ever play the sport, Nash’s resume speaks for itself when it comes to grouping him alongside the other all-time greats who have made the prestigious list.

He has been an eight-time All-Star and seven-time All-NBA team member, including three first-team caps. He has led the league in assists six times, totaling 10,335 for his career, the third-greatest in NBA history.

Nash won the NBA MVP award in consecutive seasons in 2005 and 2006, joining an elite group of players who have accomplished this feat.

Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice), Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, LeBron James (twice), Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nash are the only players to win the honor consecutively. seasons. Notice anything about this listing? They will almost certainly all be selected for the NBA 75.

But what makes Nash unique is that he and Russell are the only two players in NBA history to win back-to-back MVPs while scoring less than 20 points per game each season.

While Russell’s awards went to his defensive dominance and rebounds, Nash’s were because he was one of the greatest passer the game has ever seen.

His playmaking abilities were extraordinary – he could twist defenses with his eyes, knowing exactly how to get players to move in such a way as to clear the passageways. He inspected the ground and passed the ball through the narrowest windows which left opposing defenders puzzled. He had as many weapons in his arsenal as a passer as he did as a goalscorer, delivering one or two handed, chest pass, rebound pass or jump pass, behind the back or behind the head.

To watch or not, it didn’t matter; Nash would always find a way to set the table for an easy bucket.

He was the catalyst for head coach Mike D’Antoni’s famous “Seven Seconds or Less” offense that has in a way shaped the way basketball is played today. The fast, fast 3-point heavy program was a unicorn in Nash’s day and he used it to his advantage, but I can’t imagine there would be a lot of hindsight saying he would could still be Suite of a terrorist force in attack with today’s green light from the perimeter.

Nash has been a member of the prolific 50-40-90 club four times in his career, meaning he’s shot over 50% from the field, 40% from the 3-point range and 90% from the line. free throws. His four 50-40-90 seasons are the most important in NBA history, with Bird being the only other player to have reached those benchmarks multiple times, doing so twice.

Even with his unmatched efficiency, Nash has averaged just 3.2 3-point attempts per game for his career. Antoni’s Coach he even said it himself that he wants Nash to attempt a minimum of eight 3-pointers per game, which surely would have improved his standing in the history books on lists like all-time 3-pointers and all-time scores . It’s scary to think of what he could have been with that kind of freedom, but even with his career as it was, Nash is still a Hall of Famer.

But his stronghold on a place on NBA 75 goes beyond his awards and accolades. As a product of Victoria, BC, Nash had a pioneering influence on the widespread growth of basketball in Canada.

Prior to Nash’s arrival in 1996, there were only 13 Canadian players in NBA history.

Going from a stranger with very little recognition in recruiting at St. Michael’s University high school in Victoria to a minor star in Santa Clara to two-time NBA MVP has made Canada’s path more achievable.

The country rallied around Nash, who played basketball with the harshness of a hockey player.

It was times like Game 1 of the 2007 Western Conference Semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs, where Nash was gushing blood from a broken nose but refusing to come out of the game. He needed the team’s coach help every stoppage in trying to stop the bleeding, but still had 31 points and eight assists, albeit in a losing effort.

He did it again in Game 4 of the 2010 Western Conference Semifinals against Spurs after inadvertently nabbing an elbow from Duncan. Nash’s eye was completely closed, but even that wouldn’t stop him from scoring 21 points and nine assists to help his team complete a four-game sweep against San Antonio.

It would be unfair to give Nash all the credit for Canada’s rising basketball trend, but there’s no denying that the country fell in love with the underdog point guard with a rambling demeanor.

Just eight years after his retirement, there will be a record 21 (!) Canadians on the NBA rosters entering the 2021-22 season, a milestone that is apparently increasing year on year.

From Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Jamal Murray to godson RJ Barrett and more, all of today’s biggest Canadian stars in the NBA have cited Nash as a mentor or inspiration in one way or another. .

His position on NBA 75 was inevitable – not only because of his Hall of Fame-worthy resume, but also because of his imprint on the country that today has the most representatives in the NBA outside of the States – United.

You just can’t tell the NBA story without mentioning Steve Nash.

The opinions on this page do not necessarily represent those of the NBA or its clubs.


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