NBA / Nov 13, 2008 / 9:00 am

Is Steve Nash (still) a superstar?

Steve NashSteve Nash (photo. NBA)

I watch “Project Runway.” Go ahead, laugh, call me what you want, don’t matter. I’m not even gonna pretend like I only watch it with my fiancee: I’m independently addicted to reality competition shows. I’d watch “America’s Next Top Pumpkin-Carver” if someone created it.

Anyway, Heidi Klum‘s “Runway” slogan — One day you are in, and the next, you are out — applies to the NBA just like in the fashion world. Think about how fast ‘Melo fell from The People’s Champ (Dime #25) to a constant subject of criticism. Think about how fast D-Wade fell from the public spotlight between the 2006 championship and the 2007 injuries. Think about how fast Jason Kidd went from the PG everyone wanted on their team to being considered washed-up. Think about how fast Gerald Green and Channing Frye went from franchise building blocks to almost out of the League. And going the other way, how long did it take Chris Paul and Dwight Howard to go from up-and-coming to legit superstar status?

Watching Suns/Rockets last night (before the fight) — with Amare having taken over as the face of the Phoenix franchise and Terry Porter having pumped the brakes on the D’Antoni style — I had to wonder: Is Steve Nash still relevant as an NBA superstar?

Nash is still one of the better point guards in the game; that’s not up for debate. But it wasn’t so long ago that he was universally considered #1, and now he’s dropped considerably. Ask a Raptors fan if they’ve rather have Nash (Canadian hero) or Jose Calderon right now, and you’d be surprised how many would take Calderon. When Amare lit up the Pacers for 49 points last week, Nash had a quiet seven points and six assists; two years ago if Amare had dropped 49, Nash would have rung up at least 15 dimes, right? Last night, Nash had 10 points and three assists. For the season he’s averaging 13 and seven, and when you watch Phoenix play, he’s just not controlling everything like he did during the D’Antoni era.

So is “Steve Nash: Superstar” a closed chapter?

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  • YOUNGFED

    Project RunWay Austin – That’s a lil “How U Doing’ish”. lol But it’s all good. Nash is just in a lil slump, he’ll be alright.

  • http://myspace.com/40sand9s loc

    As a Canadian it makes me sad as hell, but yeah he is

    The CP, Deron, and Rose era is upon us and Nash is certainly on his way out…
    I think people will even really wonder how he pulled two MVPs out! Especially knowing Shaq only had one.
    Phoenix has one year left to pull something off, and it could be a lst hurrah is Amare takes them to that level like Wade did in ’06.

    Nash is still the man, and the greatest Canadian basketball player ever, but sadly the torch has been passed.

  • YOUNGFED

    BTW Austin is Pat on vacation cause he wanted me to put something together but I ain’t heard from him since I emailed him. Hope he ain’t mad I took a lil while to get back at him.

  • http://deleted Ian

    austin
    “how long did it take Chris Paul and Dwight Howard to go from up-and-coming to legit superstar status?”

    dont know cuz neither is a superstar yet paul is close

    now since im 0 for 4 on the previous articles this is the first time i vote
    nash still puts up his mvp numbers and a two time mvp is a superstar
    like i said only 2 pgs in the league are superstars this is one.

  • A$$Cube aka Canadian Bacon

    Nash still IS a superstar. Is not a superstar-type player anymore but he is a superstar in the way that he still plays at a higher level and he’s one of the most recognizable faces of the NBA. Plus, he’s a genuine good guy/clown who has TV ads just for him!

    A superstar is someone that makes other people (look) better. Not just his teammates but Canadian people too –just kidding!

    Melo is not a superstar. He’s a great scorer. But is not the people’s champ. He’s not someone you’d like to associate yourself with. He doesn’t make his teammates better. It seems Chauncey’s the one who does.

    Even if Nash isn’t racking up stats the way he used too, he still makes the Suns better as a ballclub and as an organization. No way STAT dominates like this if Nash is not respected as a big offensive threat. He –and Shaq– spread the floor for STAT to do pretty much whatever he wants to. The same way Admiral used to for Duncan. Or Shaq circa-Miami for D-Wade.

    Just try to imagine Nash playing for the Magic. Now, think about how Superman would become even more Marvelistic!

    That’s what (older) superstars do. That’s why Nash still is one of them.

  • Prof. TX

    Star, but not Superstar.

    He’s a great passer, and a good (not great) shooter. That’s about the extent of his game. They’re important skills for a point guard, but don’t expect him to grab a bunch of rebounds or play decent defense. Nash has started the ‘on the decline’ phase of his career.

  • loganlight

    I think it’s safe to say that we ALL knew that Nash was on the decline. All of the talk about the window closing and his old age, his back, the Suns searching for a protege’ to fill in for him. It’s not a secret.

    What is interesting is that Nash doesn’t have full control anymore. It looks more like he’s in one of those Driver’s Ed cars where the teacher can hit the breaks from the passenger seat. The screen and roll game isn’t as dominating… The role players aren’t as clutch…

    But blame it on Terry Porter? No way.

    I blame Shaq.

    Not that Shaq is NOT the most dominant big man I have ever seen – he is. But regardless of what anyone in Phoenix will tell you, he slows the system. The screen and roll used to work so well with Amare because he was the only big on the court. Everyone else would hit the 3 point line and if Nash didn’t have the jumper and Amare didn’t have the lane, there were 3 shooters ready to catch and shoot. That doesn’t happen any more because Shaq is clogging the block. PLUS the Suns seem more willing to run the half court offense through Shaq (how can you not?) where they get him the ball and let him find the passing lanes from the block.

    Nash is regrettably in decline, but I think before the Shaq deal, he still had a season or two of the high octane run and gun.

    LL

  • Ian

    professor
    rebounds really do u really care about your pgs getting rebounds how many boards do paul parker and deron avg.

    and nash is a good shooter not great lol i mean comon man 50% 40% 90% field threes ft thats better than great thats some larry bird shit i think ive never seen nash miss an open shot ever.

  • vinny

    nash was a product of a system- without that system you see how ordinary he really is! No way is he ‘still’ a superstar. was he ever really? or did he just pad his stats in the 8 seconds to shoot offense!

  • Geoff

    Two years ago, yes, Steve would have had at least fifteen dimes. However, two years ago he was also still playing under D’Antoni’s run-and-gun style with another athletic finisher in Shawn Marion. It’s obvious that Steve flourishes is an uptempo style, so if you would place him on a team right now that runs more than Phoenix, I believe his stats would bounce right back up to where they were two years ago. So, don’t remove his superstar status just because he is playing under a system that more than likely averages fewer offensive possessions than previous years.

  • E$

    Nash is cool, I can’t say “Superstar” or not

  • douglalr

    Is he a superstar…if that means can he still dominate the game night in night out, can he still hit clutch shots…then YES he’s a superstar. Different players need different systems to showcase their skills…last night the suns had no fast break points…that’s a that’s the coaches call not to push the ball…that and not having players that can fill the lane…the team is not quicker than everyone they play anymore so his stats take the biggest hit.

  • http://www.geocities.com/dimemag Dagomar

    Nash was the best mix of passing and shooting I’ve ever seen in a pointguard. Maybe the best-shooting point in league history. Was he a superstar? Absolutely. He WAS the Suns. Is he one now? Yes, but barely. Being a superstar has, if anything, more to do with how you are perceived than how you actually play. That’s why Shaq is still a superstar. Does that mean Nash is as good as he was two years ago – or, for that matter, as good as Paul or Williams are right now? No. But he’s still a superstar.

  • big sia

    NO FUCKING HOMO

  • http://www.hotmail.com Mamba

    Hard to say because now under TP they run a much different style – I noticed that more than anything watching the game last nite,

    Have to remember as well that Nash isnt getting any younger – having said that eventually that lightning quick agility of his and ability to get around guys is going to slow down,

    My Verdict: Give me CP3

  • 123

    Please tell my that Austin also watches Dancing With the Stars.

  • dapro

    Yes he’s still a superstar

    Superstars adjust their game if necessary to better the team

    Porter’s system is gearded more for physical “dump it down in the paint” buckets vs D’Antoni’s run and gun style

    He’s stats are suffering but when he needs to take over either through scoring or distributing he can

    Plus, he’s older and has to reserve some of his game for the playoffs

  • http://www.myspace.com/carli_borikua4life QuEsT???

    @ youngfed pat sent me the same email. pat aint on vacation its just david brandon killed pass the mic.

  • dagwaller

    I think that LL has some really good points.

    But if Shaq is still a superstar, then so is Nash. I mean, if we’re going with statistics here, Kobe’s scoring is down something like 5 points from last year. T-Mac is shooting for 17.8 ppg – decidedly un-superstar-ish (although he only went for 21.6 last year). KG is slipping – 16.4 and 10.2 are good, solid numbers, but is that what we’ve come to expect from KG?

    But is that really what a superstar is? Someone who puts up video game numbers? If that were the case, Shareef Abdur-Rahim would’ve been a superstar. All of those other players are superstars for more than just stats. When they enter the game, their teams are just better. Steve Nash stirs the drink.

    Say what you will about Nash, but he still leads the second best offense in the League (might have slipped after last night), and sit at 4th in the West (third if they had won last night). All the potential “superstars” like TP (even before he was hurt, the Spurs weren’t winning), Deron Williams, CP, Brandon Roy, Carmelo, Baron Davis are still looking up at him in the standings. And does anyone think that Kobe cares about scoring those extra 5 points if he’s still undefeated?

  • Max

    He’s hanging on, barely, especially now that Porter is running the show, and Shaq is clogging the middle. If he were on the Raps, he could probably mask his decline a little better and put up better numbers, but it’s tough watching him now.

    Still love him as one of the faces of the NBA, and hoping he has a couple of runs in him. But he’s lost a step — he used to break double teams in his sleep, and now he actually gets frazzled occasionally and even stripped by scrubs like Alston.

  • Big V

    @ Ian,

    I disagree and think that both CP3 and Howard ARE legit superstars.

    @ Vinny,

    Nash is WAY more than just a product of a system. He excelled in Nellie’s offense as well. Let’s see someone put up stats like Nash’s on the Knicks if you think it’s a systemic thing.

  • Big V

    @ Dagomar,

    I think Stockton was also a pretty sick mix of passing and shooting. It’s just that he should have shot way more than he actually did, especially in clutch situations (3-pointer to bury Houston notwithstanding).

  • doc

    To me being a superstar is a status, not what your game is.So even with all the accomplishments Nash was never a top superstar to me.He definitly aint one now.Even in his prime he rarely would start in the All Star game.Thats fan votes so if its Kobe and T-Mac or Kobe and AI starting all the time when you the shit now we all know that West PG slot is CP3’s,you aint a superstar.When Grant Hill or Magic or Vince would miss half seasons and still start,now thats a superstar.If you cant sit out half the season like Wade did and still get the All Star votes you aint got that status.

  • P_Dizzle

    Once a superstar, always a superstar. That’s why it’s hard to get that title, it don’t go away.

  • Ansonious

    I was thinking the same thing Nash needs to be the guy who controls the offense phx will crumble if they don’t.

  • Big Shot BOB

    Yeah I think it’s the different system. Think about Nash’s numbers when he was in Dallas obviously better then this years numbers but no where near his MVP seasons under Mike Dantoni. Porter defenitely has them running more of a half court set through Shaq. You can tell Nash is not happy with the coaching change because every time his interviewed he talks about how “We need to get out and run” or “Were just trying to figure out how to score if you can believe that.”

  • Ian

    big v
    they havent accomplished anything to be called superstars

  • Ian

    doc
    really u basing that on voting
    when tmac who hasnt accomplished shit compared to nash gets in because china votes him in.

    i do remember nash starting for the west i dont remember iverson doin it

  • YOUNGFED

    @#18
    lol

  • Big V

    @ Ian,

    What has LeBron accomplished? Do you think he’s a superstar?

    Yeah, a lot of it is based on public perception and visibility, but CP3 and Howard are arguably the best players in the league at their positions. In my mind, that qualifies them as superstars. Hell, CP3 just BARELY lost out on an MVP last year.

  • vinny

    @big v- labron took his team to the finals- that should count for something. and last year came real close(comon that 45 in game 7 aganist boston) to the finals last year!
    He’s a superstar!
    also nash never averaged double figures in assists and never more than 17ppg before 8 seconds to shoot! hell his career scoring is around 14 per game with the inflated stats he had those years with d’antoni.

  • Big V

    @ Vinny,

    I was being rhetorical with my LeBron questioning. Of course I think he’s a superstar and derservedly so.

  • Ian

    have the cavs missed the playoffs with lebron ???? finals ????

    cp is almost there and howard will get there but comon i need more than one season from cp

  • Ian

    but its like u said u think they are i think they are almost there dif opinions no prob

  • Big V

    Ian,

    You know I don’t think we’ve agreed on one thing since I started posting here.

    That’s why I love this place.

  • David Brandon

    @quest,

    yeah, its been confirmed. i killed it. R.I.P. to pass the mic… and you bein funny.

  • dat dood

    can people stop saying derrick rose is one of the top guards in the league? dood is a baller, but c’mon let him play a full season before we say he is the shit. look at oden…people keep saying he will be the best defensive player for years to come, but i’d like to see if he even plays in years to come. imma start calling him mr. glass.

  • Big V

    @ Vinny,

    With respect to the Nash thing, I never denied that D’Antoni’s system helped him; but I don’t agree that it produced him as you asserted earlier.

  • Ian

    big v
    we had one i dont remember which article it was
    i remember because i started with a “i think this is the first time i say this but i agree with big v on this one” couple of weeks ago maybe u didnt read the new posts after u posted.

  • Big V

    LOL. I’ll keep my eyes open….

  • Ian

    btw i rather disagree this way than the ethug thing some of us use sometimes here

  • Ian

    yeah man lol u missed it that was a once in alifetime thing

  • vinny

    @ian
    not to be 1 to quibble but you tend to call people names on here a lot-thats not exactly a way to disagree either!

  • dagwaller

    So to recap, Ian and Big V just disagreed about agreeing.

  • Ian

    vinny my man i included myself on the ethug thing i said WE bro
    i know i have a temper prob but thats just not here its in person also
    i try to control it bro
    but i hope no one takes the shit i say seriously

  • Ian

    yeah dag hehehehhe

  • SayItIsntSo

    Im tired of people trying to strip these players of their “Superstar” status simply because they are not 25 yrs old anymore..it makes me sick. Once you earned that lable, cant nobody take it away. So yes, Steve is and will always be a SUPERSTAR. The way I judge if someone is a Superstar or not is not only be your on the court performance but if your average person that doesn’t watch sports much, still knows who they are by name…people know who Nash is even if they dont watch sports. I like CP3 and D-Will and think they will be great for the L, but there are still a lot of people that dont even know who those cats are if you were to mention their names.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @SayItAintSo — You’re right that Nash is still one of the League’s ambassadors in that even non-basketball fans know who he is. But at the same time, Pacman Jones is known by non-football fans, but he’s not a superstar; it’s more a product of how they’re covered in the media. With Nash, my question is simply about his performance. Every Suns have I’ve watched so far this year, he just doesn’t stand out much anymore. Call it a slow start, but it’s possible his time at the top just ran out.

  • de

    He’s not declined. The suns declined istead starting with new coach.

  • http://suns.com Suns

    NOPE HIS STILL A SUPERSTAR. ITS JUST BECAUSE OF SHAQ IS HELLA OLD. AND HE IS STUCK IN THE PAINT AND THEY AINT NO GOOD 3 POINTER NO MORE LIKE rAJA BELL SO HE GOT NOBODY TO PASS TO LOL SO. ITS NOT HIM ITS HIS TEAMATES YAA DIG