By every quantifiable metric, from the stat sheet to the training room to the league standings, this was far and away the worst season in Steve Nash’s Hall of Fame career.
He played in just 15 games during the regular season, 25 less than his previous career low…which took place during the strike-shortened 55-game 1999 season. His notoriously stratospheric shooting percentages plummeted to career lows across the board with the exception of his stroke from the free throw line. Offensively, his numbers cratered to near career-lows across the board, performing at a similar rate to his rookie season. Obviously all these numbers come with a huge caveat as they’re all a part of a very small, sporadic sample size, but perhaps that’s just the point.
Nash strung together consecutive games a scant few times during the season, including a five game stretch early in the year and a three-gamer in February. It was the most injured that he’d been in 17 years as a professional, with back, hip and hamstring problems stemming from a broken leg he suffered at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season. His absence was a primary culprit behind the Lakers’ 27-55 record, as the team was without a capable lead ballhandler in a Mike D’Antoni system for large stretches. At times, it looked like a sad end to the career of one of the greatest point guards of all time. He was literally and figuratively a shell of himself, looking like a spry youngster trapped in the body of a 40 year-old man. With Nash on the books for roughly $10MM next season, there’re serious questions as to whether or not he’ll ever take the floor again.
But here’s the dirty little secret: he can still go. And it might be the worst possible thing for the Lakers.
(Check out the rest at the Mothership, SS&R)