When Nash Returns, Both Steves Should Start
Anyone who follows my articles knows I usually write a lot. Whether I’m writing 1,600-word editorials on Kobe Bryant’s greatness or multi-page articles defending Pau Gasol, I usually have a lot to say.
This one won’t be quite as intensive.
Simply put, I think it’s a no-brainer that when Steve Nash finally returns from injury, he and Steve Blake should start together–or at least play the majority of the two separate guard positions, together.
Although I like Jodie Meeks’ hustle and defensive effort, he averages 7.7 points on just 24.0 percent shooting from the field in 10 games as a starter this season compared with his overall season average of 7.9 points on 38.7 percent shooting from the field.
Also, while he is a shooting guard, he’s only an inch taller than Steve Blake at 6’4″ (compared to Blake’s 6’3″), so the height argument doesn’t hold much weight, either.
He’s certainly a key for this team, but I feel as though he’s a better key off the bench.
Steve Blake, on the other hand, has excelled when given the extra minutes and responsibility either due to Steve Nash or Kobe Bryant’s injuries–or both.
In the eight games Nash has been out (since the start of April), Blake has averaged 12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists.
In the two games since Kobe’s been out due to the horrific tear of his Achilles, Blake has averaged an astounding 23.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists!
Additionally, while Meeks is a solid three-point shooter at 36.7 percent, Blake is averaging 42.1 percent from behind the three-point line on the season.
Add that to Steve Nash’s 43.8 season clip from behind the arc, and you’ve got two of the deadliest shooters in the league complementing two dominant low-post presences in Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, who each get double-teamed frequently once they step foot near the basket.
Not to mention Nash has a rare mid-range shot that’s also highly effective, as he averages 49.7 percent from the field.
Throw on top of that the added play-making–and/or decision-making–you get with the two point guards, and you’ve got an offensive nightmare for other teams–especially in the playoffs.
It may be a small sample size, but in the three games Kobe Bryant was injured due to an ankle sprain (we’ll say three, because the 12 minutes he played against Indiana were pretty much non-existent) and Nash and Blake were both on the floor together for an extended period of time (Pau Gasol was injured as well, for edification), things seemed to click offensively and the two played extremely well off of each other.
Here are the numbers:
- 17.7 points
- 8.3 assists
- 4.3 rebounds
- 50.0 three-point percentage
- 15.7 points
- 6.7 assists
- 4.0 rebounds
- 2.0 steals
- 56.7 field goal percentage
- 52.6 three-point percentage
Again, it’s a small sample size, but with the way Steve Blake has performed as of late and what we all know Steve Nash is capable of with regards to play-making as well as scoring (as he’s had to do more of this season), it’s certainly a promising combination.
With Kobe Bryant out, it also seems like the wisest option as well.
Now, all we can hope for is Steve Nash’s speedy return.
In the meantime, Steve Blake seems to be doing an impressive job of filling in for the future Hall-of-Famer.