The last two seasons have been tough for Steve Nash and the Los Angeles Lakers. Two years ago, the Lakers decided to ship off several first-round draft picks to pair Nash and Kobe Bryant together in the same backcourt. Questions quickly arose about whether the two would be able to defend the elite perimeter scorers in the league, as well as who would handle the majority of the ball-handling responsibilities. However, the bigger problem turned out to be whether the two could actually stay on the court.
Nash has struggled with injuries, but hopes to have at least one good season left in him. It is unlikely that he will last all 82 games, and managing his minutes will be extremely important. With the addition of Jeremy Lin to the team, the Lakers now have the luxury of bringing Nash off the bench, a role that he could flourish in next season.
Nash is at his best with the ball in his hands, making the players around him better. He could be the main playmaker on offense, and would get to play against the other team’s second unit. Depending on who the Lakers decide to start, he could easily be playing with a lineup of Xavier Henry, Nick Young, Carlos Boozer or Julius Randle and Ed Davis. These types of players would be enjoyable to watch next to Nash, who would surely raise their game getting them the ball in the right spots. There is a good blend of shooting, finishing and athleticism to complement each other. On the defensive end, Henry could be responsible for the more athletic guard on the court, and Davis provides decent rim protection.
Nash may not be the player he was 10 years ago, but he showed last year that when is on the court, he can still make a difference. Starting him in the same backcourt as Bryant may not be the best idea, especially on the defensive end. By bringing him off the bench, he can have the ball in his hands and create for the scorers around him. He doesn’t have to worry as much about guarding star point guards, and can focus on what he does best: being a playmaker. The Lakers should strongly consider Nash to lead the second unit.