I was doing my usual Internet reading when I came across this interesting trade proposal: the Phoenix Suns would give Steve Nash to the San Antonio Spurs for Tony Parker. Automatically, I thought about whether or not this would be good for either team.
I’m not so sure on one side but all for it on the other.
Let me get this out of the way before I begin…it would be highly unlikely for the two teams to make this trade straight up. Other players or draft picks would be thrown in the mix. However, for the sake of this post, we’ll pretend a Nash-Parker trade would happen.
Nash maybe one of the best point guards to play in the NBA. This is fact, not fiction, and for most of his career any team in the league would have loved to have him on their team. Who wouldn’t want a two-time regular season MVP, a seven-time NBA All-Star and a seven-time NBA All-Team member?
The problem is, at the age of 37, Nash will not play at a high level for much longer. One or two more season, but that may be pushing it.
San Antonio is an aging team. Tim Duncan, Antonio McDyess and Richard Jefferson have all played in the NBA 10 plus years and are on their last legs. Manu Ginobili is 34-years old and has a history of nagging injuries.
Duncan, “The Big Fundamental” will always have the skills to play the game because he is the best power forward to ever play the game but his body is quitting. By time the playoffs came, he was worn down and his legs had absolutely no pep in the step.
The same thing can be said about McDyess and Jefferson.
This spelled D-O-O-M for the Spurs who played a young and hungry Memphis Grizzlies team in the first round. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol looked fresh and full of energy while the old men of the Spurs dragged their feet up and down the court.
Parker is still young at 29-years of age, but is a 10-year NBA veteran who knows how to lead a team to success. He isn’t necessarily a leader of a youth movement, but the leader of the post-Duncan era in San Antonio.
Why would the Spurs want to get rid of one of their star players, Ginobili and Duncan the other two, who has the most upside? If the trade happened, San Antonio would be replacing a player who helped them win three NBA Championships with a player eight-years older.
Parker has plenty of accolades himself, including: 2007 MVP Finals MVP, three-time NBA All-Star and did I mention he has three rings…
It doesn’t matter how good Nash is still playing, trading a younger player who plays only a half notch below Nash’s level and has been in coach Greg Popovich’s system for 10-seasons makes absolutely no sense.
The total opposite could be said for the Phoenix Suns.
Why wouldn’t the Suns want to pick up a great point guard who is eight-years younger than the one they currently have? Nash has been the backbone for Phoenix for quite sometime, but the Suns couldn’t make the playoffs without Amar’e Stoudemire this past season.
Nash is no longer the No. 1 guy on a team; he is an over qualified second option. The Suns don’t have anyone to step in and be the go to guy or even be a solid third option. Some may say Vince Carter could be that guy but his attitude has overshadowed any talent he may have left.
With that said, I think this would be a great trade for Phoenix because they would be replacing a great shooting/scoring point guard in Nash with Parker, who can score in the paint as well as anyone in the league. Although, Parker isn’t as good a shooter as Nash, he still knocks them down.
Parker is young enough and has enough high level NBA playoff experience to be the No. 1 scoring option and facilitator for the Suns.
Since Nash started with Phoenix in the 2004-05 season, him and Parker have averaged around the same numbers. Parker leads Nash in scoring per game as he hasn’t finished a season averaging under 16 points per game while Nash has twice in this time frame.
Parker’s ppg high during this time is 22 during the 2008-09 season while Nash’s high is 18.8 for not only the 2005-06 season, but his career.
Nash’s assist numbers are higher, much higher than Parker. This is probably because of the fast paced point guard led system ex-Suns coach Mike D’Antoni coached. It never hurts to have a high octane player such as Stoudemire running the court with Nash either.
On the other side, Parker had Duncan down low and shooters such as Brent Barry, Steve Kerr, Ginobili and “Big Shot Bob” Robert Horry to add to his assist column. Parker’s highest assist total for his career is 6.9 while Nash hasn’t recorded lower than 7.3 since the 1999-00 season.
With this said, the Suns would add a little more scoring with Parker than Nash at the point guard position, however, would lose ppg from other positions because of the assist difference.
On the other hand, Parker’s game would change because he would be in a different system and wouldn’t have Ginobili and Duncan, who create their own shot.
I think Parker would be a great piece for Phoenix to rebuild around because he is young but experienced and does have the ability to lead a team. Let’s face it, the Suns are not going to get anywhere with the present team they have, no matter what type of numbers Nash puts up.
If we were talking about both of these players at the peak of their prime, I would go Nash, no doubt. At this time, the Spurs need a youth movement and the Suns are remodeling, which means Nash doesn’t fit in either scenario unless he chooses to help, not dictate, the Suns.
I’m all for Phoenix to make this trade even if they don’t see the positive turn for a few years, while I think this closes the championship door on the Spurs further than it already is.