Posted by: David J. Smith on May 12th, 2012The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
After last month’s dramatic Utah Jazz victory over the rivaling Phoenix Suns, the game that clinched a surprising postseason berth for the young Jazz squad, ESPN reporter Michael Wilbon suggested that free agent guard Steve Nash might be wise to consider the Utah Jazz. On Pardon the Interruption, Wilbon went as far to say that Utah could be a 55-win team (as we go back to the regular 82 game grind) with Nash at the helm.
Last night, in ESPN’s pre-game coverage prior to the exciting Grizzlies/Clippers game six, Chris Broussard took the opportunity to say that Nash might indeed have interest in joining up with the Utah Jazz (I caught most of this secondhand; if anyone heard him say this, or better yet, can post video of it, that would be stellar).
How realistic a notion this is, I do not know. It could very well be a long-shot. Rumors emerge daily, almost hourly, most with very little validity to them. But if you are like me, I like a good rumor every now and then, especially when it involves our Utah Jazz.
So, there I’ve made my disclaimer. This post does not mean that I think Nash will be committing to Kevin O’Connor and Tyrone Corbin on July 1st. Far from it. I simply wish to lay out some reasons why a Nash-Jazz pairing might make sense. Follow me here:
- Even during his MVP seasons, has there been a more humble, self-effacing superstar in recent history (perhaps going back to David Robinson and our own John Stockton)? Steve Nash is devoid of ego. He wants to play for a winner and would go to a good situation rather than get sucked into the allure of a big market or glitzy hype.
- Most teams would kill to have Nash. But as you analyze the rosters, you can see which situations might make sense for him and which wouldn’t. First, there are teams that already have stellar point guards: Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver (Ty Lawson), Golden State (maybe, with Stephon Curry), Houston (with either Kyle Lowry or Goran Dragic), LA Clippers, Memphis (I think they’re high on Mike Conley), Minnesota, Philadelphia (depending on what happens with Jrue Holliday), San Antonio, Washington. Next you can look at teams that are mired in mediocrity or worse. Chances are, these teams may not be of interest to Nash: Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Jersey, New Orleans, Sacramento. That is 20 teams right there)
- So 10 teams that might make sense: Dallas, Indiana, LA Lakers, Miami, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Toronto (being a Canadian), and Utah. It’s no secret that Dallas is targeting Deron Williams, but if they miss out on him, Nash might be up for a reunion with best friend Dirk Nowitzki. I really cannot see him joining forces with Kobe in LA or Miami with LeBron and D-Wade–the stars there each need to dominate the ball to be most effective. Given the happenings this season, it’s hard to see the Knicks passing on the media juggernaut that was Linsanity. Broussard also said that Nash would be leery to play with Melo (what does that say about Anthony?). Toronto’s just bad. Everything surrounding the Magic centers around the Dwight Howard drama. If he stays, Orlando might make sense.
- So, that would leave Indiana, Phoenix, Portland, and Utah (and again, this is just one man’s opinion). The Pacers are very appealing. Great team with a very underrated, young coach. Portland also has been linked with Steve Nash over the years and he would greatly boost a team that has a lot of cap room and two Lottery draft picks. And Utah, with $36 million in expiring contracts (Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Earl Watson, and presumably DeMarre Carroll after his option is picked up), veterans who are very capable, and the potential of our core four (Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, Enes Kanter), makes a lot of basketball sense for a guy who wants to go to a winning situation. Utah is very much on the up-and-up and have the flexibility to make some impact moves to bring in some impact players (not to mention the fact that the Jazz could still have the #8 pick should someone rightfully leap-frog the ubertanking Warriors). And of course, given his fierce loyalty, resigning is the Valley of the Sun is possible, but I think he moves on.
- Nash appreciates the fans. I believe the Phoenix fans were a big reason he resigned after much of his strong supporting cast moved locales. Utah’s fanbase is among the league’s most passionate and rabid.
- The Utah system could fit his style. He’d be surrounded by guys who can run the fast break, tantalizing bigs who would thrive with a distributor like Nash, and there is still a great deal of structure in the Jazz system post-Jerry (although we still need to implement the 3-point shot into things).
- His defensive liabilities can be offset a bit by one Derrick Favors (and hopefully more concerted effort by the whole team).
Okay, so am I saying that this will happen or that it is the absolute, number one move to make? No. Not at all. Just sharing some reasons why this seemingly implausible idea might make sense. Sorry if this is a bit scattered. I simply wanted to get some thoughts out there this morning.
Part two: how Nash, if for some stroke of great fortune, did decide to come to SLC, would affect things now and in the future.
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