July 06, 2012

Scarcity makes Nash acquisition significant

As a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, I felt morally obligated to address the significance of the news I received on the best fourth of July in recent memory. I was watching a movie with my brother when I felt the sudden urge to check Twitter, my most convenient news source. The first thing I see: 'Steve Nash to the Lakers'. What I felt after reading that statement was what some might equate to a religious experience. I call it a sincere reaction of a fan whose team hasn't had a point guard of this caliber in decades.

Those of us who comprise Laker Nation are a proud and fortunate group. We are proud because the Laker franchise is one of the most popular and coveted sports franchises of all time. We are proud because our team has the second most championships in NBA history. But Laker fans are fortunate as well. We've had Jerry West, the beloved logo of the NBA. We've had Pat Riley, Magic and Showtime, Worthy, Jabbar, Horry, Shaq, Gasol, Bynum, Odom, Kobe, and Metta World Peace's elbow.

The Lakers produce champions and Hall of Famers, but it's no secret that their history of great point guards is scarce. In fact, they only had two.

Don't mistake my contention as a complete knock on other Laker point guards. They had a young Nick Van Exel in Kobe's first few seasons, brought in Ron Harper (via Phil Jackson) and won their first of three straight championships in 2000, and I could never discredit the service of Derek Fisher, who may have hit the craziest game winning shot I've ever seen back in 2004.

The Los Angeles Lakers won their championships with Phil Jackson with the triangle offense, a primarily post-oriented offense that is designed to operate below the free throw line. This is offense actually gives post players more dictating power than point guards, because there are not as many pick and roll sequences in the half court. Simply put, the Lakers have been able to make it work without an elite point guard because of their blessings at the shooting guard and center positions. Similar to Phil Jackson's Bulls, who just had the single greatest blessing of all time at shooting guard. The fact of the matter is, today is a new day. It truly is a point guard era, and the Lakers just got one of the best.

Steve Nash was second in the NBA with 10.7 assists a game last season. On the Phoenix Suns. With Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley. At 38 years old, Steve Nash is the best point guard the Lakers have had since Magic Johnson. Steve Nash is a masterful facilitator with the ability to create for himself and others, something LA desperately needs. In 2006, Nash became the ninth player to win consecutive MVP awards and is the only point guard besides, you guessed it, Magic Johnson to win multiple MVP awards.

(In case anyone forgot who Steve Nash is)

I could only write this post as a Laker fan, because I'm not sure people understood the true severity of this acquisition. Personally, I still think we need a little more athleticism and better bench players, but our point guard problems are essentially solved. We have our point guard, do you have yours?

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