The Los Angeles Lakers thought that an NBA Championship was almost inevitable as they headed into the season. However, winning a title turned out to be far from the case as they struggled just to make the playoffs and then were promptly bounced from the postseason by the San Antonio Spurs, who completed a four-game sweep of L.A.
The Lakers brought in Dwight Howard and Steve Nash this off-season to help give aid to Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant. However, injuries derailed many of those players’ seasons and Howard and Nash didn’t deliver at the level that the organization and Lakers fans expected him to. Most of that, especially in Nash’s case, was the way that he was utilized.
Nash played in just 50 games for the Lakers this season and averaged 32.5 minutes per game, which isn’t a normally high amount, but is a ton of playing time for the 39-year-old Nash. In that role he averaged just 12.7 points, 6.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game on 49.7 percent shooting and solid 43.8 percent three-point shooting.
The most troubling thing about Nash’s season was the minutes-load he was forced to take on and the fact that he was basically relegated into being a three-point shooter rather than the elite floor general that he has become known for. He’s too talented to be just spotting up for long jumpers, even if he is older and playing with players who demand the ball to be successful.
Going forward into next season, especially with Kobe out with his Achilles injury, the Lakers have to better utilize Nash. They need to make sure they limit his minutes to keep him healthy and need to put him in more pick-and-roll type plays where he can be successful. If that happens, L.A. will be better off because of it.