For a few years now, we've been expecting Steve Nash to show the effects of aging. In fact, we all probably underestimate just how many times Steve Nash has been written off. The idea that Nash might fade or begin to decline has been around for quite some time. Remember when he went to Phoenix from Dallas?
Even back then, when Nash was just 30 years old, ESPN's Bill Simmons had this to say about the move:
Any time you construct a free agent offer that's so insane, Mark Cuban studies it for a few minutes, then throws up his hands and says, "You know what, I can't match that thing" ... I mean, that's a pretty good sign you went overboard. Which is exactly what the Suns did by guaranteeing Steve Nash and his bad back $60 million. Crazy contract. Just crazy.
Since then, he's won two MVPs, carried the Suns year-in and year-out, and signed another lucrative contract extension that seems crazy. Until you remember that he's Steve Nash.
For years now, he's had a laundry list of nagging injuries, and yet, he's kept getting better. His mastery of the point guard position is truly a thing to behold, and despite the injuries, he's still a nightmare for defenses, and the catalyst for a Phoenix offense that remains among the NBA's elite. But now it looks like the wear and tear might be finally catching up to him.
"I'm sore when I wake up in the morning," said a frustrated Nash."It's mentally and physically fatiguing to play physically at a deficit for so long...I can't do the things I want to do and it's painful out there but I've got to find a way to suck it up right now...Hopefully I'm not hurting the team."
Nash describes the impact of his injuries on his game this way, "I have no thrust. Every movement my back tightens and stops me from going somewhere. Our training staff does a great job to even get me out there at all."
Contrary to Simmons' point above, the Nash contract has wound up being one of the better signings in NBA history. Since his arrival, Nash has been a revelation on and off the court, infusing that team with an energy not seen since the days of Kevin Johnson in the mid-90s. The marriage between Phoenix and Nash has been perfect in almost every sense. But everyone gets old. All dreams have to end sometime.
Thursday night in a loss Jazz, Nash went 0-3 in the critical fourth quarter, and according to Seth Pollack, he "grimaced in pain while putting his arms through the sleeves of his shirt." Nash is still a great player, but he's human, too. With the playoffs on the horizon for Phoenix, you have to wonder: How long can he keep this up?