Steve Nash is one of the best point guards in the NBA. Has been for years. Even though there were (and, in truth, still are) a fair number of dissenting opinions regarding his back-to-back MVPs, the reality is players don’t win that particular award without kicking some serious you-know-what along the way.
Captain Canada currently leads the league in assists per game (11.1) and is second (to Chris Paul) in Player Efficiency Rating among point guards (21.48). More importantly, his Phoenix Suns are 21-5 since January 28 while getting key contributions from NBA castoffs like Channing Frye and Jared Dudley. No Western Conference team has a better record during that stretch.
Here’s the thing, though: Derrick Rose kind of owns Nash. Or, at least, he has so far.
Check out Derrick’s splits: In three games against the Suns, Rose has averaged 25.3 PPG on 68.6 percent shooting (including 2-for-3 from downtown) to go along with 4.3 RPG and 5.0 APG. In those same three games, Nash has averaged 9.7 PPG, 7.3 APG and 5.0 TO. Moreover, Nash shot 13-for-33 in those contests…which is pretty significant considering he’s been in the top 10 in Effective Field Goal Percentage for the past seven years.
The most important stat from Rose’s three games against Nash and the Suns is this: 3-0. That’s Chicago’s record, which includes a 115-104 win in Phoenix on January 22. In that game, Rose scored 32 points (15-for-21) with 5 assists and 3 steals while Nash finished with 8 points (4-for-12), 7 assists and 5 turnovers (thanks, as By The Horns reader PTFC correctly pointed out, to some pesky defense by Kirk Hinrich).
I can’t help but wonder whether this matchup can possibly continue to be so lopsided. I guess we’ll find out tonight.