To say the 2012-13 season was a complete disaster for Steve Nash is an understatement. He would even admit as much calling this season the “most frustrating” of his career.
Nash was supposed to fix what seemed to be an annual Laker weakness serving as the floor general that would make the game easier on his teammates. Even at the age of 39, Nash keeps himself in peak physical condition and has the reputation of being a tireless worker. Despite questions about his defense, it was expected that Steve’s offensive brilliance and leadership would offset any other deficiencies in his game.
Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be for Nash or the Lakers this season. Nash missed 24 games early in the season with an ankle injury after a collision with Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard which really stunted his chances to develop chemistry with his teammates. Issues with his hamstring and hip led to Nash missing the final eight games of the regular season for the Lakers as well. Nash’s 50 games were the least he had played in an NBA season since the 1998-99 NBA Lockout.
When Nash was healthy enough to suit up, he did display some of the attributes that make him such a special player offensively. His three point shooting was very good and needed for a Lakers team that struggles from outside as he hit 43.8 percent of his attempts from downtown.
And while his assists totals were lower than usual, Nash did distribute well averaging 6.7 assists a game and became the fifth player in NBA history to reach 10,000 career assists.
Nash also proved himself to be a great teammate, willingly sacrificing for the teams good on many occasions. After an air it out meeting on January 23 when the Lakers were in the midst of their rock bottom point of the season, Nash agreed to play more off the ball and adapt to being more of a spot up shooter in the Lakers offense while letting Kobe Bryant assume the responsibility of primary playmaker.
Ultimately, this may sound harsh but this year was an absolute failure for Steve Nash. He did not do enough offensively when healthy to negate his defensive deficiencies as opposing teams torched him on a nightly basis. Because of Nash’s age, it is unrealistic to expect him to improve defensively.
Furthermore, the injuries could happen to anyone but Nash is also turning 40 next season and are a bigger concern for him than they would be for a younger player.
At this point, it is fair to ask if the Lakers would be better off with a younger, more defensive minded point guard heading into next season. Nash is still owed 19 million dollars over the next two seasons and maybe Mitch Kupchak gives this team a last chance at realizing lofty expectations. Hopefully Nash returns to his past glory but I question whether he fits with this particular Lakers squad.