The arrival of Jeremy Lin to become the starting point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers might mean less minutes for Steve Nash who is reaching the final stage of his career, but it also allows the future hall of famer to take it easier, and making it possible for the coach and team to give him plenty of rest, as the last two years have shown he’s going to need it.
It’s always hard to admit it about great players, especially someone who’ll be in the hall of fame five years after he retires. A point guard with two MVP awards. But Steve Nash looked like his career was almost over after last season. He played only 50 games for the Lakers during their failed attempt at putting the wrong set of stars together in 2012-2013. He played only 15 regular season games in 2013-2014.
Irrelevant? As close to it as you can get. He averaged just 20.9 minutes a night. Making over $9.5 million next season, Nash isn’t exactly producing or will produce at the level his contract is taking up. However, the Lakers didn’t use the stretch option on his contract which would have meant taking a cap hit that is spread over a few seasons. They’re not going to win anything this year, so why not eat it all up at once, as Nash announced he’ll retire at the end of this season, when he becomes a free agent?
The Lakers needed a point guard, badly. Even if Nash will be the starter just for the sake of it, and it really shouldn’t be working this way, it’s hard to imagine him going through his back problems and giving the Lakers more than 15 minutes of quality basketball, if he’s even still capable of that, throughout an entire season. It’s more likely that he’ll get plenty of rest on back to back nights or long road trips, and Jeremy Lin gets the bulk of the minutes.
Had the Lakers gone for someone who hasn’t been a starting point guard or hasn’t proven he can last at the position, that might have added more pressure on Nash to try and give them more than he could. Lin has no problem playing plenty of minutes. Last season he played 28.9 a night, but that was because of the McHale treatment, which meant giving Beverley the lineup spots, and plenty of times ignoring Lin at the end of games, despite Lin time after time showing his capabilities in clutch situations.
It’s going to take more than just two point guards, especially with Nash more than likely to miss more than just a few games, to fill up the rotation. After last season’s injury epidemic, the Lakers can’t rely on a few players without having some decent cover.There is Jordan Clarkson, but maybe we’ll see some minor changes before this season begins. Kobe Bryant, lest you forget, is going to hold on to the ball quite a lot. But even if it’s just by name, which is another problem the Lakers might have, Jeremy Lin makes it possible for Steve Nash to have a respectable end to his career, as much as possible at least.