There are still the brilliant no-look passes. The step-back threes. The ability to hold on to his dribble as well as anyone who has ever played the game. The understanding of the angles.
Steve Nash can still ball. He remains an elite point guard.
But right now, at age 36 and nearly five months into a grueling NBA season, Nash’s body is betraying him. It’s showing on the court — he was 0-3 with two turnovers (and four assists) in the fourth quarter against the Jazz Wednesday, while Deron Williams scored 13 points and led his team back to victory.
Nash knows it, as he told Brett Pollakoff of Fanhouse.
“It’s mentally fatiguing to play physically at a deficit for so long,” Nash said. “I can’t do the things I want to do and it’s painful out there. But I’ve got to find a way to suck it up right now, especially with [Goran Dragic] out.”
“I’m sore when I wake up in the morning,” Nash said. “So it’s just something I’ve got to try to fight through. Hopefully it can get better, and I’m sure four [games] in five nights didn’t help. I can’t do what I want to do out there, and I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team. Hopefully, I’m not hurting the team.”
“I just have no thrust,” Nash said. “Every movement my back tightens, it tries to stop me from going somewhere. Our training staff does a great job to even get me out there at all.”
Steve Nash is as good a conditioned athlete as there is in the NBA. He trains hard in the offseason (not just playing soccer) to get his body ready for the grind. Nobody gets as much out of his body as Nash squeezes out of his.
But now that body is letting him down, breaking down. It’s been doing that for a few years, but each season the issues start a little earlier and get a little worse. How much he will have left for the playoffs remains to be seen (the good news is the first round of the playoff takes roughly six months to complete with a ridiculous number of days off).
Things are not going to get better. Nash’s body is sending him a message. Suns fans need to hope he can keep ignoring that message for at least a little longer.