When the Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson one of the biggest talking points about why this made sense was D’Antoni’s relationship with Steve Nash.D’Antoni and Nash made beautiful basketball together in Phoenix from 2004-2008. The thinking goes they’ll do it again in Los Angeles. And besides, Jackson’s offensive system, “the triangle,” wouldn’t work with Nash. It’s not a system that needs a point guard and Nash would be wasted, according to the pundits.
This all makes perfect sense if Steve Nash can play at a high level for Lakers. But right now there’s reason to doubt that’s going to happen, and for some odd reason, nobody seems to want to talk about it.
Phoenix has a famously talented training staff that manages to get players with chronic injuries on the court. Grant Hill, for instance, was almost out of the league. He went to Phoenix and was able to play. Shaquille O’Neal had back problems, but managed to play in Phoenix.
As soon as 38 year-old Nash left Phoenix for Los Angeles he got hurt. He got a leg fracture in the second game of the season. Most reports say he’s going to return relatively quickly from the injury. But, there should be real concern that he’s not going to be healthy this season without that Phoenix training staff.
And if there’s no Steve Nash on the Lakers, the whole premise of bringing in D’Antoni collapses. His system won’t work as well without a point guard to run things. (Look at what happened with the Knicks.)
If there’s no Nash, and D’Antoni’s team fails, the good news is that Phil Jackson will still be available this off season. The Lakers can fire D’Antoni, back up a truck of cash to Jackson’s ranch in Montana, and he can come in and try to get his 12th championship ring.
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