G35 wrote: MacGill wrote:
Well Nash never had a KG on his team
now did he.
Rondo never had Joe Johnson, Amare, Marion and D'Antoni as his coach and carte blanche to say "screw defense" I'm saving it all for the offensive end.....
This isn't an effective counterpoint. Defense, rebounding and coaching have been strengths for the Celtics and a foundation for the team. They won a title with Rondo playing a role comparable to that of a 6th man. The Nash-era Suns had a cash-starved owner and a coach who didn't maximize the value of what defensive players he DID have. How that translates to a negative in your mind, I do not understand. It wasn't "carte blanche" to not play defense, if was a lack of proper roster and coaching support. Nash didn't fail to give effort on the defensive end, that's an invention on your behalf that doesn't match with reality. Remember that Amare Stoudemire is one of the worst defenders in the league and was a mediocre rebounder for the 5 (where he often played in Phoenix), and that's at basically the most important defensive position. Then consider that Marion was frequently played out of position, and thus constantly surrendering 3-5 inches of height to the guy at his position, and we start to see a problem, yes?
As is your customary MO, you ignore a lot of basic context when you discuss Nash. It's impressive, at times, the mental gymnastics you go through in an effort to diminish what Nash has accomplished.
For the sake of argument, let's recap the Phoenix playoff record and see if Nash's defense actually impacted Phoenix's chance to contend for a title.
05, they lost to the eventual-champion Spurs 4-1 in the WCFs.
Joe Johnson misses two games with a broken face (Phoenix's only win in the series came with him in the game). Barbosa only played 2 games, McCarty 1. Nash put up basically 23/10.5 on 57.5% TS. The Spurs kind of let Amare play in single coverage and focused their D on everyone else.
Nash's primary check was Tony Parker, who had a good series in general, apart from FT shooting. That said, he shot worse in that series than he did during the RS, despite scoring a higher volume. He dropped from 52.8% TS in the RS and 49.0% TS in the playoffs overall to 48.96% TS in that series. So, in essence, brutally inefficient. 49% was 4% below league average.
Parker's piss-poor scoring efficiency, even at ~ +3.5 ppg compared to his seasonal average, really wasn't make or break for the Suns. He shot 13/38 over the last two games of the series (34.2% FG), didn't get to the line, averaged 3.5 apg and 15.5 ppg. He fell apart as the series moved on.
Nash's defense? Not the problem. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili picking the Suns apart? Yeah, that was a problem. San Antonio's team defense? Yeah, still a problem. Shawn Marion totally disappearing on offense? Yeah, that was a problem. Joe Johnson's broken face and 2 missed games? A problem. San Antonio holding a +6 advantage in team RPG? Yeah, that was a problem. Remember that this was title #3 for a 4-time champion, a team that included a player better than Nash in Tim Duncan.
Nash's defense, not an issue in that series. In fact, Parker's play was abominable in the back half of that series, so it's kind of laughable to look at Nash as being any kind of negative, especially rocking 23/10.5 on that kind of efficiency (actually, 23.2 and 10.6).
Then you look at 06, when they were without Amare Stoudemire and running Boris Diaw in his stead. Dallas versus Phoenix... noting that the Suns weathered the lost of a dominant offensive weapon in Amare Stoudemire (notably much more effective with Nash than without, of course) and returned to the WCFs. 6-game series loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Bell missed 2 games, House missed a game. Kurt Thomas played only 1 game (and he was a big part of their defensive efficacy). Phoenix played pretty well on offense (Bell couldn't hit a 3 when he did play, though) but James Jones sucked, which hurt a bit. Nash stank from the field but passed well in game 5. Not his greatest performance. Jason Terry had a solid, but unremarkable game and Devin Harris sucked. Not exactly a world-beating performance from a backcourt that should have been torching him if he was that bad on D. Basically a repeat performance from Terry in Game 6, Nash himself played very well. Harris had a very good game, going 4/5. He hit both of his shots in the 1st quarter, also coughing up the ball to a Steve Nash steal. Made two shots in the second, and then wasn't heard from for the rest of the game. Not exactly a brutal weapon employed to exploit Nash's defense. 28/13/3.5 from Dirk? That hurt. 19/8 from Josh Howard? That hurt. The backcourt production? Not so bad.
In 07, they lost to the eventual-champion Spurs in the second round. Parker had another 49% TS series with notable volume, shooting 16/40 (40%) over the last two games (5/13 and 11/27). He was 8/11 FT in 40 minutes in the elimination game (that's 47.1% TS in the elimination game, FWIW).
Again, the Spurs dominated based on Duncan. Basically 27/14 from him (26.8 and 13.7), with 18/7/4 from Manu, both on way better efficiency than Parker's dud series. ~ 40% 3pt shooting from Michael Finley, 48% 3P shooting from Bowen, these things helped. All of them were more important than the backcourt issues.
This is a big, long rant, but it is spawned from fatigue over hearing endlessly how Steve Nash's defense was some major issue holding the Suns back from the title. Their crap, undersized and weak-rebounding frontcourt was a MUCH more serious problem than anything Nash brought to the table as an average to middling defender (which is what he was, not some brutal liability).
So when you start talking about defensive gap, I feel like you continue to massively misrepresent the Phoenix context and Steve Nash's defensive ability.