NBA / Mar 1, 2012 / 3:30 pm

The Best Passing Highlights From Steve Nash & Ricky Rubio’s Opening NBA Years

Steve Nash

Steve Nash (photo. Complex Magazine)

Is tonight the night Scott Skiles‘ single-game record of 30 dimes goes down?

We have to ask because tonight is the first matchup between Steve Nash‘s Suns and Ricky Rubio‘s Timberwolves. Unless you hate passing, you know that Rubio, the Spaniard, has been linked to Nash, the Canadian, for their passports, long hair and longer list of passing exploits since each became a professional. And while the squad surrounding Nash isn’t close to their 7-seconds-or-less days — and Rubio’s teammates are still realizing potential — anything could happen with these two floor generals.

Turns out, however, that a younger Nash has more than just a passing similarity to Rubio’s rookie development. When Nash was a 22-year-old for Phoenix out of Santa Clara, his start didn’t lead many to believe he would become a two-time MVP. He averaged a little more than 10 minutes per game, with 3.3 points and 2.1 assists. Unlike Rubio, who’s been playing professionally since he was a teen in Spain, he wasn’t given many opportunities to play on those early Suns teams.

But then check out each player’s rookie numbers per 36 minutes and the comparison comes back into focus:

2012 Rubio: 11.3 points, 8.8 assists, 3.4 turnovers, 36 percent from the field, 35 percent from three.
1997 Nash: 11.2 points, 7.3 assists, 3.3 turnovers, 42 percent from the field, 42 percent from three.

Even better, compare some of their best highlights from the first years of their career and take your pick.

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Here, Rubio threads a nearly impossible angle to Derrick Williams on the break.

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  • Rainman

    Oh i love this. Not the comparison really. Rubio reminds me more of a Early career Jason Kidd- Passing, defence, steals, decent boards, lack of a jump shot, (remember “ason kidd”?( than a Nash -Excellent shooter, excellent passer, overall great on Offence, but lacks D and boards. Although Rubio has said Nash has been his favourite player , so his ability to be a floor general u can say is a result of that. But yeah, to me, Rubio= more Jason Kidd than Nash.

  • heckler

    Mark Jackson was a BETTER passer than both of them.

    If you wanna have a comparison clinic on pinpoint passing and angle accuracy, bring up video of Mark ‘action’ Jackson.
    if for nothing else, just to refresh your memory of how GREAT a passer he was!

  • Pete

    Did anyone else notice that half of the passes in that Nash top 10 was with his left hand? Dude is a wizard. He makes passes with his left that most can’t make even on their best day.

  • Rainman

    ^ take THAT Mark Jackson. lol