Is Steve Nash the best offensive player of his generation?

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Because of the way Steve Nash plays, it’s hard to think of him as one of the greatest offensive players of all time. He doesn’t go off for 50-point outbursts, and he doesn’t just grab the ball in isolation and score time and time again. He needs good teammates to pass to in order to be effective. He needs plenty of room to work in pick-and-roll situations, and his teams are generally better in the full-court than they are in the half-court. When we think of great offensive players, our minds go to Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, or a prime Shaquille O’Neal before they go to Nash.

Still, it’s hard to overlook what NBA.com’s John Schuhmann pointed out today: This will be the first season since the 2001-02 season where Steve Nash’s team did not finish first in offensive efficiency. That’s an absolutely incredible¬†accomplishment, and Nash’s Suns are still incredibly good on offense when Nash is on the floor. Nash’s defense has never been good, he’s been blessed with some amazing offensive teammates, and he hasn’t yet won the big one, but Nash’s ability to lead absolutely brilliant offenses year after year after year is something that should be appreciated and remembered long after he retires.

It’s easy to talk about what Steve Nash isn’t and wasn’t as a player. But as a pure offensive talent and facilitator, Nash has had few peers.