Suns Players Thrilled by Nash Signing

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital

Posted: July 13, 2004

Tomorrow's signing of point guard Steve Nash is sure to change the outlook of the Suns’ 2004-05 season and beyond. talked to several members of the club’s roster to find out their reaction to the acquisition and what they feel Nash will bring to the team.


SUNS GUARD LEANDRO BARBOSA: "I think this is very good. I’m very happy that this is happening. We need another point guard. I don’t care about playing a lot of minutes. I just care about learning a lot and I’m going to talk to Steve Nash, and he’ll help me and one day I can be very good like him.

"I know him and I played against him in Puerto Rico for the national team. He’s very good. I know he started here. This is going to work. I’m very happy about this. We need to go to the playoffs and we’re going to work to make this happen again."

(On playing two-guard alongside Nash)
"If this happens, I’m going to be very happy and I’m going to work for this to happen. I’m going to work very hard every day for Coach Mike D’Antoni so I can do my job on the court with Steve Nash."

(On veteran experience)
"That’s why when he signed the contract he said he’s going to take care of the young people. I’m young, Amaré’s young, everybody’s young, so we’re good."


SUNS HEAD COACH MIKE D’ANTONI: “We got a lot better real quick with Nash. He’s going to be our leader. He’s going to be the guy that our offense will run through and I think he’ll make everybody else on the floor better. We’re real excited about having him.”

(On Nash’s role on the Suns)
“He’s the playmaker. He’ll help Leandro (Barbosa) develop into a nice playmaker. Leandro can also play beside him. He doesn’t really displace anybody. He just makes the whole collective group better.”

(On Nash’s veteran presence)
“He knows how to win. He’s been there, he’s done it. We’re trying to develop young guys and we’re added a very savvy, veteran to the mix. I don’t think I can overstate how important he’ll be to the team.”


SUNS GUARD CASEY JACOBSEN: “I’m very excited. Of all the free agents that are out there, I thought that he could help us the most to improve next season. Playing against him, he brings a certain amount of leadership, hustle, intelligence that every team could need and want. I feel really excited to have him on our squad.”

(On Nash’s veteran experience)
“One thing that hurt us in close games (last season), we couldn’t get over the hump sometimes. We couldn’t out-execute teams that had more leadership and more veteran players that knew how to play. The more guys we can get that have been around the block quite a few times, have been All-Stars, have been in the playoffs, that’s just going to help our team tremendously.”

(On Nash’s age)
“I think Steve Nash can play for a lot more years. I think he can play through the contract he’s going to sign with us. I think his best years are still out there for him, I really do.”

(On Suns surprising Cuban with offered deal)
“I don’t know why it would surprise (Cuban). Maybe it surprised him because of his age. Steve Nash is probably in the top three point guards in the entire league.”


SUNS GUARD JOE JOHNSON: “He’s going to bring energy, another great shooter, a penetrater and creator. It’s only going to be a plus for us.

“I’ve watched him over the years and he keeps it up-tempo. He’s a great shooter, so it’s going to be hard to double when we’ve got guys like Steve Nash out there on the court. He’s going to create for everybody and make everybody better.”


SUNS FORWARD SHAWN MARION: "He is the veteran leadership we need at the point spot. He is the one guy who is going to get everyone involved. He can show a young player like Leandro (Barbosa) how to be a point guard. He’s an assist guy, but he can shoot that ball, too. His passing and shooting will help get us running."


SUNS FORWARD AMARÉ STOUDEMIRE: “Steve Nash going to help a lot. He’s going to be the floor general and that’s something we didn’t have last year. I’m not doubting Barbosa, but Nash is a veteran point guard, an All-Star in this league.

“He can distribute the ball very well, knock down the open shots and that’s going to help take the double and triple-teams away from me. I guarantee you, I’m going to be triple-teamed and quadruple-teamed because my game’s elevated this summer. I’ve been working very hard and a lot aspects I’ve been working on have finally been added to my game. So, it’s going to be a good season.”

(On Nash helping Barbosa)
“Barbosa can learn from Nash and take notes. Then, in a couple of years, Barbosa will be kind of similar to Nash. I think Nash has got at least six more years in the league because he’s healthy and he’s still in shape.”

(On Nash helping rest of the team)
“It not only helps me, it helps Shawn, Joe, it helps the whole team. Nash is a great player and great guy to distribute the ball. He will get a lot of guys easy baskets and that’s something that we need.”

(On acquiring an All-Star player without having give up any of the core)
“That shows commitment to what we have here. I’m pretty sure the guys upstairs know that me, Shawn and Joe, and now Nash, we’re going to be a good core. If they add a couple more pieces to the puzzle, we’re looking at the Western Conference Finals, hopefully. We’re going to take a stab at it.”


SUNS CENTER JAKE VOSKUHL: “I was excited. I was really excited. Normally, a big free agent like that, you normally don’t steal him from his team, especially a team like Dallas. So for us to get him, I was so excited. I know that we had said we wanted to look at this guy and that guy, but a lot of times just because you want to look at someone doesn’t mean you’re going to get him. So for us to land Steve is a big, big deal.”

(On reaction to Nash signing)
“It’s funny, because I was in Dallas a couple days ago and it was all over talk radio. They were upset. They were mad about Nash leaving, they were mad at Cuban for letting him go. Then I showed up at a gym to play some pick-up and everybody in the gym was like, ‘Oh, you guys got Steve Nash! I know you’re happy!’ Everyone was talking about it.”

(On what Nash brings to the Suns)
“I think he’s just going to bring leadership to the team. You know, I think it’s so important to have a point guard. Now Mike (D’Antoni) doesn’t have to call out plays. You know, Steve can call plays and see what he wants to do, just because he’s go to much experience and he’s so good. I think it’s going to be great for Leandro (Barbosa) to get a chance to learn from Steve. He got a chance to learn from Stephon (Marbury) and now he’s going to get to learn from Steve. I’m really excited.”


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