Ramneet Singh: Steve Nash is in the last stage of his NBA career, and at this point, the Lakers should do whatever it takes to keep him fresh and ready to play later in the season. Although it is imperative to have Nash on the court for the Lakers to make the Playoffs, they cannot afford to risk Nash’s health.
At this point, Los Angeles has a lot of depth in the backcourt and they can allow Nash to sit out games. Jordan Farmar has proven that he can run an offensive effectively and Steve Blake is another player who can fill the void when Nash isn’t playing. Even though the Lakers did not play well against the Golden State Warriors, the second unit is capable of playing a major role in the team’s success this season.
The Lakers have enough fire power to replace Nash on either the first or second game of a back-to-back. The younger players on the bench will not have too much trouble playing on consecutive days and they can provide explosion and athleticism, two things that Nash has lost over the years.
Suki Thind: I think it depends on the situation. If he’s able to get away with limited minutes in the first game of a back-to-back, then it should be up in the air. However, if he has to play significant minutes on the first leg of a back-to-back, then probably not. Conversely, if Nash knows he’s going to be sitting for one of the games and perhaps playing in the more “important” game of the two, then he should be able to stretch it a bit on the night he plays, if he’s up for it. It’s necessary to limit his minutes, but if he’s playing well, having a significant impact on the game, and in the heat of a competitive battle where he’s putting on a vintage type of performance, then I think Mike D’Antoni should let him go a little bit.
The main thing, however, is to make sure that his minutes indeed are monitored for the duration of the season, and that his nagging injuries are under constant treatment. Nash and D’Antoni will have to make a judgment call on certain nights, but I think communication between the two will be the biggest help — which shouldn’t be a problem given the their long-standing relationship.
There will be a fine line between playing Nash too much, and resting him too much to where it isn’t actually helping any of his nagging injuries and just ends up getting him out of rhythm. It will certainly be a hot topic all season, but hopefully Nash remains healthy and can contribute to the team.
Ryan Ward: Steve Nash has played over 37,000 minutes in his illustrious career. Up to last season he has been relatively injury free. But these last two years have proven that his body is beginning to break down and without a doubt he should rest one game during a back-to-back this season.
Chances are that Nash won’t play more than 30 minutes a night this year, especially with the addition of Jordan Farmar and the continued improvement of Steve Blake. Last year, when Nash went down Blake was solid, but Chris Duhon and Darius Morris were completely ineffective behind him. That won’t be the case this season as Farmar is more than capable of running the team for long stretches making it easier for Nash to miss some games here and there.
Quite frankly, Nash hasn’t been great when he has been on the floor which is part of the reason Farmar stayed on the court for the entire fourth quarter against the Clippers. Nash will need to be healthy in order for the Lakers to reach their potential, but the bench is a strong point for the Lakers this season making a missed game from Nash not as big a deal as it would be.