Steve Nash 2004-05 NBA Most Valuable Player Award
Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns was named the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2004-05 season, the NBA announced today.
The 6-3 point guard, who returned this season to Phoenix where he spent the first two years of his career, totaled 1,066 points to narrowly edge out Shaquille O’Neal (1,032 points) of the Miami Heat in MVP voting. The 34-point difference is the fourth-closest voting margin since media began voting on this award in 1980-1981. Rounding out the top-five in voting for MVP were Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (349 points), San Antonio’s Tim Duncan (328 points) and Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson (240 points).
A panel of 127 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada voted for this prestigious award. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for third, three for fourth and one for each fifth-place vote received.
The three-time NBA All-Star averaged 15.5 points (.502 FG%) and an NBA-best 11.5 assists in 34.3 minutes per game. The Suns enjoyed a 60-15 record when he was in the lineup this season as he helped guide the team to its first division title since 1994-95 and its fourth overall (1980-81, 1992-93, 1994-95). Nash is one of only seven players since 1970 to notch double figures in assists in 14 or more consecutive games (John Stockton, Magic Johnson, Nate Archibald, Isiah Thomas, Nate Archibald and Kevin Porter).
Nash is in the company of Bob Cousy (1956-57), Oscar Robertson (1963-64), Johnson (1986-87, 1988-89 and 1989-90), Michael Jordan (1990-91, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1997-98) and Allen Iverson (2000-01) as the only guards in NBA history to be named NBA MVP. He is also the fourth player in NBA history to lead the league in assists and win the MVP award in the same season (Cousy, Robertson and then Johnson in 1986-87).
Nash (Canada) is in select company as he joins Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-94, Nigeria) as the only international players to win the award.
Nash, who joins Charles Barkley (1992-93) as the only Suns player to receive the NBA’s top individual honor, was named Western Conference Player of the Week on two occasions this season and was named Western Conference Player of the Month for November. Nash was selected to the 2005 NBA Western Conference All-Star Team and also won the PlayStation Skills Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Denver.
Nash posted the NBA’s highest assist average (11.5) in the last decade, the most since Stockton averaged 12.3 assists in 1994-95. Since 1990-91, only Stockton (six times), Johnson (once) and Mark Jackson (once) have averaged 11-plus assists in a season. Three times this season Nash recorded a double-digit assist streak of 11 games or more, including a franchise-best 14-game streak from March 6-April 3. He notched double figures in assists in 59 of 75 games played in the regular season, including 32 of his last 35 games.
The Suns made a remarkable turnaround from last season when the club finished with a disappointing 29-53 (.354) record, the third-worst in franchise history. Their 33-game improvement this season (62-20, .756) ranks as the third greatest turnaround in NBA history behind the Spurs of 1989-90 and 1997-98.
Nash guided the Suns to a league-best 110.4 points per game, up 16.2 points from last season’s 94.2 scoring average. It ranked as the largest increase in team scoring from one season to the next since the advent of the shot clock (1954-55). The previous largest increase was 15.3 points by the Philadelphia Warriors from 1958-59 (103.3) to 1959-60 (118.6) and was due to the presence of rookie Wilt Chamberlain.
The NBA MVP trophy is named in honor of the late Maurice Podoloff, the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement in 1963.