Drive to the Finals Expert Pick: 4/27/08
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By Ben Zani,

So, it has to be Steve Nash, right?

I mean, on one hand, he looked terrible on Friday night, and hasn’t looked very comfortable this entire series. Some have said he’s shown his age this series, that it’s clear he’s lost a step or two, and that his shot has become somewhat erratic.

On the other hand…he’s Steve flippin’ Nash! Two-time MVP! Point guard of the league’s premier run-and-gun franchise. His playoff PRA this year is still above 30, and his regular season PRA was even better! Moreover, he’s playing at home, in front of 20,000 fans who don’t want to see their team get swept out of the first round.

More importantly, I tried to imagine a scenario in which Steve Nash went unpicked by the Drive to the Finals Experts. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t pretty. To wit:

Nash, disheartened that he went an entire playoff season without being picked by the Experts, abruptly retires and begins a professional soccer career at the age of 34. The Suns summarily dismantle, adopt a playing style akin to the Knicks of the mid-90s, and the average score of their games next year is something along the lines of 34-29. The rest of the league follows suit, and within five years, basketball scores start falling into the single digits.

The Canadian government, meanwhile, feels that we’ve angered their most famous sporting export, and retaliates in kind. They start pulling all of their wildly attractive actresses back home, banning them from American movies and television. No Elisha Cuthbert, no Evangeline Lilly, no Pamela Anderson. Emmanuelle Chiriqui is pulled off “Entourage” and Cobie Smulders is removed from “How I Met Your Mother.” Teenage boys across the U.S. recoil in horror.

The American government, angered and in the waning days of a Bush presidency, builds a giant wall on the U.S./Canada border. Both economies take a hit, and stock markets across the world plunge. Also, unable to cross the wall, the Toronto Blue Jays lose the rest of their games this season. And you can only imagine what this does to the logging industry.

I’m then taken hostage by the Canadians, due to the fact that I started the whole thing. They lock me in a room with Bret “The Hitman” Hart, who spends the bulk of his day putting me in painful wrestling submission maneuvers, including the figure four leglock, the crossface chicken wing, and his signature move, the sharpshooter. Ow.

Soon there’s an invasion, and casualties, and eventually, World War 3. All because we didn’t pick Steve Nash.

I don’t want that blood on my hands, friends. I don’t want that blood on my hands.

So, if only for the good of mankind, I’m going with Nash.

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Steve Nash, PHXWhen: Sunday, April 27 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Opponent: vs. San Antonio Spurs
Pts: 16.9 Reb: 3.5 Ast: 11.1
Regular Season Average PRA: 31.3
Yesterday's Pick: Allen Iverson, DEN
Expert Pick Playoffs Total: 244
Expert Pick Archive
1. Chauncey Billups, DET @ PHI (26.5 PRA)
2. Jason Kidd, DAL vs. NOH (28.4 PRA)
3. Shaquille O'Neal, PHX vs. SAS (24.2 PRA)
There’s actually a decent amount of choices Sunday if you don’t happen to go with Nash, with four games being played. My second choice behind Nash would actually be Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, what with his team down 2-1 and playing on the road. There’s a distinct possibility here that the Pistons may go down 3-1 on Sunday, meaning that there may soon be a run on Pistons. Also, Billups has to shoot better than the 2-11 he put up on Friday, and his regular season PRA of 26.5 is among the best of those playing on Sunday. Jason Kidd is another point guard who could have a big game on Sunday, especially playing at home. And if you’ve already picked Amare and Nash but still want to take a Sun, a third possibility could be Shaquille O’Neal, who has looked surprisingly spry this season and should get you at least 20-25 PRA. I’d personally avoid anyone from the Washington/Cleveland series, as I get the impression that one is going at least six games.

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