It is no secret that Steve Nash had a disappointing debut season for the Lakers last year. Expectations for the team were automatically raised when Nash was acquired, and that was before Dwight Howard came to Los Angeles for a single season.
With improved health coming into this season, Nash will need to contribute to the team at a much higher and more consistent level than last year. In the 2012-13 season, he averaged 12.7 points and 6.7 assists per game and only appeared in 50 regular season games.
We asked our Lakers Nation roundtable writers what their expectations for Steve Nash are in the 2013-14 season, and here’s what they had to say:
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): What I expect from Steve Nash is to have an impact next season. I hope he’s able to stay healthy, so in that regard, I expect his minutes to be limited. Additionally, I expect from Nash what has been one of his most ins tangible assets over his career–leadership. With a group of young players coupled with an offense familiar to Nash, I expect him to lead by teaching, mentoring, and of course by example.
Last season, he adjusted to playing alongside Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and Pau Gasol by handling the ball less and shooting the ball more. He did that successfully, as he averaged 12.7 points on 49.7 percent shooting from the field and 43.8 percent shooting from behind the three-point line; he averaged just 6.7 assists.
Next season, however, I expect him to orchestrate the offense a bit more and dish out assists more frequently.
Ramneet Singh (@RamneetSingh24): Steve Nash will turn 40 years of age midway into the 2013-14 season, and for the Lakers, that is not good news.
Although Nash has played well despite the age, last season was one to forget for the future Hall of Fame guard. Nash was plagued with injuries from the beginning, and the fact that he’s going to be one year older will not help. I do expect Nash to put up better numbers than he did last season, but it is hard seeing him be that productive point guard he was for Phoenix two years ago.
Still, I can see Nash being a reliable shooter for the Lakers, and of course, an excellent ball distributor. The Lakers can always use a lethal point guard, and if there is one player that can find open teammates, it’s him. However, the defensive end may be somewhere Nash struggles and he will have a tough time against the younger guards. The Western Conference is getting better and better, and there should be a concern about Nash’s ability to defend the elite backcourts.
Elizabeth Benson (@gobibs): Steve Nash’s 2012-13 season was plagued with injuries, causing him never to fulfill expectations and not play like the two-time MVP that Lakers fans were used to seeing on the other side of the bench.
Since Nash is expected to be at 100 percent healthy when the team enters training camp and the preseason, I anticipate that Nash will start the season with a higher impact.
A ton of his impact for the Lakers starts and ends with his health status, and therefore, his minutes must be managed next year. That is why the addition of Jordan Farmar this offseason is so important. I would hope to see Nash’s minutes decrease to 28-29 minutes per game.
I also think the move of Pau Gasol to the center spot and the addition of Chris Kaman will allow Nash to implement the pick-and-roll game that he executes so well, which was lacking last season. Having Gasol’s skills and IQ as a roll man will open up a plethora of pick-and-roll sets that will be effective.
Will his defense improve? No. In fact, his age will only have more of an effect on his defense. However, I believe Kurt Rambis’ defensive mind is already hard at work finding team defensive sets that will help balance Nash’s defensive liability.
Overall, I expect Nash to have an improved season and to be more effective offensively as long as his health cooperates. His health is the determining factor above everything else.
Ryan Cole (@JustRyCole): What I expect from Steve Nash is that his performance will be very similar to last year, with the hope that he at least can be healthy the majority of the 2013-2014 campaign.
From a production standpoint, Nash didn’t have a bad season in 2012-13 with an average of 13 points and six assists, as well as coming as close as it gets to another 50-40-90 season. If the Lakers can get this exact production from Nash over the course of this entire season, there legitimately should be no complaints of him.
What is going to be key for the Lakers is doing whatever they can to make sure he stays healthy. The addition of Jordan Farmar, along with a healthy Steve Blake should make this possible. Nash has aged, and it’s a bit out of the ordinary to expect him to perform at the level of a top ten point guard in the NBA.
However, he can still be very useful and beneficial in this system if the Lakers take the necessary precautions that would allow the physical toll of an 82 game season to wear him down.
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