Steve Nash reaches 10,000 assists

Steve Nash reaches 10,000 assists as the Lakers took on the RocketsSteve Nash is simply poetry in motion on the hardcourt. His latest accomplishment should lead him into the status of legend even for those who aren’t fans of the scrappy, 6’3” Canadian.

In front of an amped up crowd at the Toyota Center in Houston Tuesday evening, Nash joined a stellar and select crowd as he became only the fifth player in NBA history to reach 10,000 assists. It would be hard to argue that Steve Nash is one of the best when it comes to the pick and roll that the league has ever seen.  He reaches the 10,000 mark because of his incredible sense of vision on the court and his ability to deliver the ball with expert precision.

With this achievement, Nash joins John Stockton with 15,806 assists, Jason Kidd with 11,969 assists, Mark Jackson with 10,334 and Earvin Magic Johnson with 10,141 assists. Definitely a powerful group of individuals to join, establishing Nash as one of the absolute best in the business.

Nash has been a boost to the Lakers team, which is sorely in need of a boost.  After a dismal 9-14 start, the Lakers began progressing once Nash recovered from injuries and was able to take the floor and provide his much-needed leadership.  The Lakers saw a comeback over the next several games,  The Lakers evened it up to 15-15 before losing 4 straight games to dip back down to 15-19. The possibility of the team missing the playoffs is fast becoming a reality. Moreover, the woes of the Lakers have been increased because of the injuries to their two big men, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. This puts the pressure on both Nash and Kobe Bryant to double their efforts because the scoring of the team will fall on their shoulders.

The Lakers difficulties aside, Nash’s 10,000 assist accomplishment is considered to be a legendary mark that several Hall of Fame point guards before Nash haven’t hit.  Nash is truly one of the best all-around players of all time which led him to win two MVP awards as well as three All-NBA First Team Selections.  Without question, Steve Nash is certainly one of the best floor generals ever to play the game, and this is a fitting achievement for him. Nash’s powerful combination of great vision, durability and an uncanny ability to make some impossible passes is the stuff of legends. Hopefully the Lakers will be able to capitalize on these skills and recover their season.

Tick-Tock: Lakers’ Brown must win now

Mike BrownOn paper, the Los Angeles Lakers have one of the best starting line up’s the NBA has ever seen. By adding  two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash and three-time defensive player of the year Dwight Howard, the Lakers added to an already stacked team that includes Pau Gasol and one of the best to ever play the game, Kobe Bryant.

Last season was a disappointment.

In a shortened season, the Lakers finished with a losing record away from the Staples Center. (14-16) Even though they won the Pacific Division for the 33rd time and earned the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, they were outrun by a young, up and coming team in the Thunder during the semi-finals.

Many of their shortcomings were put on the shoulders of first-year head coach Mike Brown and for good reason. It’s not easy to replace a legend and unfortunately it’s not going to get any easier this season.

During his introductory press conference Brown stated “We don’t play for second here, it’s as simple as that.”

The pressure started at that moment and now the lofty goals for the Lakers continue. While Brown had his excuses from last season there are none to be heard of this year.

Off to a slow start, the Lakers can’t afford to not gel in a timely manner.

With injuries to Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard getting back into shape the Lakers haven’t had the game experience yet.

What must worry Lakers’ fans, Last season the rotations Brown used took too long to mesh together and at many times he would randomly pick a player to give huge minutes to out of thin air. Brown must find the rotations to use and quickly.

The truth is if the Lakers are unable to unseat the Heat and bring home a 17th Championship the season will be a failure and Mike Brown will be the scapegoat.

NBA 2012: Story lines, predictions

Dwight Howard-Ray AllenJust think, a year ago we were all telling jokes about how LeBron James had no rings, no killer instinct, and couldn’t put the team on his back.  Now after he won the NBA Championship, MVP, NBA Finals MVP, and an Olympic Gold Medal in the past year we are now asking what’s next?  Can LeBron take himself to MJ levels?  Can he be the greatest of all-time?  And that has to be the main storyline for the upcoming 2012-13 season.

The Miami Heat:  The Heat come into 2013 as the defending champions and all the pressure is on them to take control of the NBA like they did last year.  The big storyline is can they repeat?  If so, can they go on a historic run like Jordan did with the Bulls and win multiple titles in a row?  Miami not only has the best player in the NBA, LeBron, but they now surrounded that man with shooters all around him signing the best 3-point shooter off all-time, Ray Allen.  Last year in the Playoffs, the Heat figured out who they are and it only took them two years to do it!  The Heat run an unprecedented offense with “no positions”, it will consist of LeBron doing whatever he wants and surrounding him with shooters.  The Miami Heat are clearly the team to beat in the NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers: Arguably the next biggest storyline of the off-season was the Lakers making trades to give a three-year window to allow Kobe Bryant to at least (and hopefully surpass) Michael Jordan’s six NBA Titles.  The Lakers shocked the world by not only getting Steve Nash (the best point guard that Kobe will ever play with), they traded for the much maligned and best Center in the NBA, Dwight Howard.  The Lakers are now four-deep in their starting lineup with potential Hall-of-Famers, and the Artest formerly known as Ron, Metta World Peace will only have to be a spot up shooter and play defense.  The question is can this team gel and do they have enough in their legs to last a grueling 82 game season with a long playoff run?  Dwight Howard is the great equalizer and one of the best defenders in the NBA who can clog the middle.  The Lakers will be learning to play with each other on the run and are installing the new Princeton offense.  The Lakers will start slow but will hit their stride later in the season, don’t panic if the start off around .500.

James Harden Trade:  The Los Angeles Lakers main competition to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals to a big step when the Oklahoma City Thunder abruptly traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets.  As a small market team, the Thunder “said” they couldn’t have three max players and decided to low-ball James Harden after paying Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge  .  In the short-term, the Thunder are hurt by this trade in the Western Conference, they get a big-time scorer in Kevin Martin and a developmental two-guard with Jeremy Lamb, but that won’t replace the Sixth-Man of the Year.  In the long-term the Thunder might be better off.  Westbrook and Durant are still in their early 20′s and will eventually have to sign another contract, Sam Presti and the Thunder want to make sure that the talent they have will get better and they know in three years that the Lakers will potentially be without Nash and Bryant. Read more…

5 reasons Howard makes the Lakers only paper champions

Dwight Howard

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers don’t rebuild, they simply reload.  With an impressive 16 NBA Championships throughout their illustrious history, the Lakers only trail the Boston Celtics by one in the overall title count.  In attempt to bring another championship to L.A. during the Kobe Bryant era, last week the Lakers pulled off one of the biggest trades in recent NBA history as they acquired Center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic.  The move has Lakers fans ready to take a day off following next year’s NBA Finals in order to attend a Championship parade. Well, not so fast.  On paper the Lakers indeed have a championship roster but here are five reasons that a paper crown is the only one they’ll be wearing in the near future.

1.   Howard is an upgrade in name only.  When was the last time a Center led his team to an NBA Championship?  Try 2002 when the Shaquille O’Neal led Lakers won three consecutive titles.  The Lakers had the second best Center in the NBA and traded him for the best.  The problem is that Dwight Howard isn’t capable of taking over a game night in and night out.  Sure with the plethora of options in the Lakers starting five he won’t have to but then again neither did Andrew Bynum.  Last season, Bynum averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game with a trigger happy Kobe Bryant and a productive Pau Gasol.  Meanwhile, Dwight Howard averaged 18.4 points, 13 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game in an offensive system that featured him. The bottom line is that Howard is not a significant enough difference to put the Lakers over the top.

2.  Mike Brown is still the Lakers coach.  For several years with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mike Brown had the best team in the NBA and it wasn’t on paper either.  His LeBron James led teams were kicking ass and taking no names; until it really counted in the NBA playoffs.  How will Brown put it all together and make all of the personalities mesh?  Kobe and Metta World Peace are enough on their own.  Now he’s going to have Dwight Howard, who we know can be a whiner, to deal with.  Brown’s one saving grace could be Steve Nash.  Nash is a floor general who is the Lakers best chance at finding chemistry quickly.

3.  The status of Howard’s back is an X factor.  The status of Dwight Howard’s back will be a huge question mark for the Lakers next season.  In April, Howard had season ending surgery to repair a herniated disk.  The move kept him out of the Olympics and crippled his former team’s chances during the playoffs.  Howard is currently unsure when he will return but reports have already begun to surface that he will not be ready for the start of the regular season.  What if he suffers a set back and doesn’t play until December or even the playoffs?  The trade will have become a huge bust for the Lakers.

4.  History says no championship next season.  As NBA history teaches us it’s difficult to assemble and NBA Championship team overnight.  The recent exception being the 2008 Boston Celtics who brought in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to form a Big 3 along with Paul Pierce and went on to win a title immediately.  The Miami Heat tried to replicate what the Celtics did by signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh to go along with Dwayne Wade.  As everyone knows it took them two seasons to figure it out.  Back in 2003 the Lakers signed veteran free agents Karl Malone and Gary Payton to go along with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.  That Lakers team struggled with chemistry which eventually resulted in a five game defeat at the hands of a lackluster Detroit Pistons roster in the NBA Finals.

5.  The Oklahoma City Thunder.  Before the Lakers can even entertain the thought making it to the NBA Finals they’ll have to dethrone the current Western Conference Champions and a hungry Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will have plenty to say about it.  OKC assembled its team from the ground up and after losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals they will be determined to make another championship run.  For the Thunder to fall to the Lakers (another assembled to win team) it would be a slap in the face of the right way to win championships.  And Lakers fans better believe that the Thunder aren’t ready to rollover in defeat just yet.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth

In sports, for some players, there really is ‘No Place Like Home’

We’ve all heard those infamous words “home field advantage” and in most cases it usually has an impact on the outcome of games. But what about the other significance of ‘being home’; not teams but players?

What made me stop and consider the importance and impact it makes if a player is home with his family or if he plays cross country without them, was Steve Nash’s decision to accept a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. If it’s a ring he’s interested in wearing clearly he would have had a better chance of garnering one in South Beach. He would have had less of a chance of getting to the finals in New York but consider a starting five of Chandler, Stoudamire, Carmelo, Nash, and, if Dolan pushes the right buttons, O.J. Mayo. A finals team? Maybe not, but formidable just the same.

But Nash chose L.A. for another reason. He wanted to be closer to his family where he’s played for 10 of his 16 years in the NBA and the last eight straight seasons. L.A. to Phoenix is approximately a one hour flight which would get him there in less time than it takes me to get home during rush hour on most evenings!

Remember that Steve Nash never wanted to play for the Lakers and as recently as June 13th on a cell phone interview with ESPN, Nash said that there was ”no way he would ever play for Los Angeles”; one of the Suns’ most hated rivals. He said, “I could never see myself ever wearing a Laker uniform” and yet, that’s exactly what he’ll be doing because he couldn’t see himself uprooting his family and moving cross country, nor playing thousands of miles away from his wife and kids. Read more here…

Should the Knicks sign Nash or Lin?

SteveNashandJeremyLin 150x150 Should the Knicks Sign Nash or Lin?

Who should the New York Knicks sign? Old versus new, the experienced versus the potential. They are both entering into free agency and will definitely have several teams blowing up the phones for their services. Recently, there has been talk of The New York Knicks signing Steve Nash and resigning Jeremy Lin. The question remains should the Knicks let Lin leave and sign Steve Nash? There are many opinions and debates out there but who will get the New York Knicks the elusive NBA Title they have searched for over the last 39 years?

Jeremy Lin, the Lin-sanity creator and the man who single-handedly sent the Knicks fans into a frenzy, made a name for himself this year . He was claimed off of waivers by the Knicks. He was buried on the Knicks bench, one step from a towel boy.

Read more here…

Steve Nash: An unsung hero

Steve Nash will be a Hall of Famer when its all said and done. He has been the most consistent at his position for years. In case you didn’t know, Nash was originally drafted by the Suns in 1996, 15th overall. He didn’t play well for the Suns so they traded him to the Dallas Mavericks in 1998. In his third season with the Mavericks, Nash was voted to his first All Star game and together with Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley they went to the Western Conference Finals. The following season however Nash became a free agent and returned home to the Suns. Read More Here…