Posted Nov 13 2009 11:27AM
Remember when Michael Jordan attempted to play baseball? Or Madonna tried to act? Or how about -- God help us all -- Arnold Schwarzenegger running the great state of California as governor?
There are just some things that people should not try.
Oh, I certainly understand and highly encourage the desire to branch out beyond one's own natural talents in an attempt to diversify character; being pigeonholed can feel so darn constraining.
But more often than not, the grass is only greener because there is some undetected sewage leaking from a burst pipe buried on the other side of the fence.
Having plied you with that extraordinary visual, I think it's safe to say that the Phoenix Suns never should have done that slow-down thing with which they experimented last season.
Yes, the run-and-gun thing was wildly successful in the regular season, only to be depressingly shattered by the officials conveniently swallowing their whistles during the playoffs and allowing lockdown defenses to be exacted in the most unflattering exposure.
But isn't losing a heartbreaking series in the postseason far better than not getting there at all? Why don't we ask some unwitting Timberwolves fan if they'd rather have a first-round flameout or a 20-win season.
And so the Phoenix Sun are once again the Phoenix Suns, taking full advantage of the way they were constructed, and Steve Nash is again among the best players in the league.
In fact, right now, I'd say Nash is right there with Kobe Bryant for Most Valuable Player, leading the Suns to an 8-2 record despite the fact that seven of Phoenix's first 10 games have been on the road (including Thursday's 121-102 loss in Los Angeles).
Had the Suns actually won Thursday, The Race would have placed Nash at the top. However, given Bryant's dominance in that game and throughout, he clearly deserves the top honor.
Still, Nash should not go unrecognized. This is the first time the Suns have started this well since the 1980-81 season, which is before many of today's players were even born. And behind Nash's leadership, the Suns have eclipsed 100 points in each of their games this year.
The thing I like so much about Nash is that he makes it look so effortless. Do you realize how difficult it is to split two defenders converging to double-team a pick-and-roll, get inside a hovering defense and finish off a drive with a finger roll? Nash does that every game, cleverly using his body to shield off larger defenders.
This may be sacrilege, but I think Nash runs the pick and roll than John Stockton. He just seems to instinctively know when it's the right time to deliver the perfect pass to set up a teammate for an easy score. He certainly has a wider variety of passes than Stockton employed.
Who knows how long Phoenix's current run of success can last? And who knows how long Nash, at age 35, can play this well. But what I do know is that if the regular season ended today, Nash would be right there among the leaders for MVP.
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