Lakers 2013-14 Preseason Player Profiles: Steve Nash

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With the start of training camp around the corner, we’re getting toward the end of our Lakers preseason profiles. Featured today is point guard Steve Nash as he looks to make a bigger impact in his second season with the Lakers.

Name: Steve Nash
Pos: PG
Year: 17

2012-2013 Stats 
PPG: 12.7 RPG: 2.8 APG: 6.7 SPG: 0.6 BPG: 0.1
FG%: 49.7% 3PT%: 43.8% FT%: 92.2%
PER: 16.0 USG%: 17.8 ORTG: 117 DRTG: 111
TS%: 60.5% EFG%: 55.7% DR%: 7.7 OR%: 1.8 TR%: 4.8

Last Season Summary:
Steve Nash’s first season in Los Angeles proved to be a very up-and-down affair. In the second game of the season, he suffered a fracture in his left leg after a collision with Blazers rookie point guard Damian Lillard. Initially the injury was expected to keep Nash out for a week, but that wouldn’t be the case. Nash would miss almost seven weeks and not see game action until the end of December.

When Nash returned, the Lakers had issues trying to define roles for their “big four”. A few of the issues that Nash encountered throughout last season included his lack of chemistry in the pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard and the fact that he was forced to play off the ball more now that he was teammates with Kobe Bryant. The lack of consistent health and team chemistry ultimately refrained Nash from being able to be the player the Lakers envisioned.

Strengths/Weaknesses:
Nash is an expert at managing the game. He’s still one of the best point guards in the game despite the fact that he’s been in the league for 17 years. Naturally, we all expect him to be a superior shooter and he demonstrated that last season in a Laker uniform as he came a few field goals away from finishing with another 50-40-90 season. He has an excellent understanding of pace and tempo and naturally understands Mike D’Antoni’s system more than every player on the roster due to the fact that he played in it for years in Phoenix.

The most glaring weakness with Nash is obviously his age paired together with his lack of quickness and athleticism. The point guard position is the deepest in the league and perhaps even the most athletic. So Nash is going to have his hands full on the defensive end on a night-to-night basis.

Expected Role:
Nash is going to be the starting point guard. That’s his natural position and where he fits on this roster. What’s going to be key is how the Lakers manage his minutes. If they can get him to around 30 minutes a game that would bode well for this team in the long run. The Lakers have an excellent backup in Steve Blake and signed Jordan Farmar this past summer. Both are expected to provide some productive minutes this season in helping Nash stay fresh.

This Year’s Expectations:
Lakers Nation should hope that Nash has a similar season to last year, with more good fortune in the health department. In the 2012-2013 campaign Nash missed 32 games. The Lakers can’t afford for that to happen again this season if they plan on playing in the postseason. From a production standpoint there isn’t much more that the Lakers can ask of Nash. If he simply duplicated last season (13 points and six assists along with a 50-40-90 season), that would be more than enough.

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