USA TODAY Sports
Okay okay so we know that everyone has been eagerly awaiting the return of Steve Nash!
That includes the coaching staff, the fans, the players and especially Canadian sportswriters like me who sit around in their jogging pants watching the Lakers late at night because they work a night shift at their day job and can only watch West Coast teams if they want to watch live basketball over pre-recorded Raptors games. I was going to thrown in "if they want to watch an actual good team play" as part of that whole rant, but let's face it, the Lakers have surprised most of us as they're still only playing slightly better than mediocre right now.
Alas the man of the hour is back and the Lakers are 2-1 in his presence, following the most recent loss to the Denver Nuggets last night in Denver. But enough about reality let's talk about how Nash's return impacts your fantasy team and your opponents and their Lakers players. After missing 24 games this season with a leg injury, Nash came back against the Golden State Warriors just before Christmas and played over 40 minutes in the first win he's experienced as a member of the team that actually saw him in the lineup.
Although he played a lot more than most people probably expected in his first game back, coach Mike D'Antoni has lowered Nash's minutes in the last two contests. Last night against the Nuggets, Nash came in at just under 31 minutes. He'll most likely average around 35 for the season and the real question is how well will he do with those minutes?
There's no doubt that Steve Nash has a passing ability that most point guards in the league only wish they could have, but on the other hand father time is undefeated and Nash is getting older. It's safe to say that the 10 points, three rebounds and seven assists he's averaging since his return are only slightly below what he'll probably do for most of the season. That's especially true when you consider that Nash's points per game average has dipped by two points in each of his last three seasons with the Phoenix Suns from 16 all the way down to 12.
The real excitement comes in the form of what Mr. Nash can do for his teammates, a.k.a. Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. There is no doubt Gasol in particular has struggled this season more than he has in any other year in his career since he was a rookie, but the fact that Mr. Nash only wanted to play with the Lakers if Gasol could stay on the team has to excite fantasy owners because now there are no excuses and you can bet that Nash can find Gasol and Superman off the pick and roll no problem. As far as Kobe is concerned, he was already having one of the most efficient seasons shooting the ball this year that he's ever had in terms of his field-goal percentage and he's averaged 32 points in the games Nash has started this season (that's almost two points higher than the 30.2 he's averaged on the season for you math nerds out there).
Although Nash will no longer have to be the main guy and probably won't see over 40 minutes a game on a regular basis for the rest of the season, you can bet that he will be effective with the minutes he does get and he'll help every single one of the stars around him including the ones on your fake team increase them fantasy stats for ya!
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