For the most part, we think of individual streaks in basketball in terms of personal stats like points, rebounds, assists and the like. But it's often the case that a player's true worth can only be measured by team-wide stats. Not surprisingly, for all his individual accomplishments, Steve Nash is one of those players.
For all nine seasons from 2001-02 through 2009-10, Nash was the starting point guard on the league leader in offensive efficiency, a tempo-free stat that measures how many points a team scores per 100 possessions. And, with this year's Suns currently ranked ninth in efficiency with one game left to play, Nash's streak will come to an end.
For nine straight seasons — three in Dallas and six in Phoenix — Nash has led the No. 1 offense in the league. Even in 2005-06, when Amar'e Stoudemire missed 79 games, the Suns ranked first in offensive efficiency. And even in 2008-09, when the Suns' offense was supposedly bogged down by Shaquille O'Neal, they ranked No. 1 in offensive efficiency. [...]
The run began in Nash's second season as the full-time starter in Dallas. Nash has not only led the No. 1 offensive team each season, but he's led the five best offenses of the last 20 years (when you compare the team's efficiency with the league average).
Schuhmann also notes that a Nash offense has failed to reach the No. 1 spot in just two of his seasons as a regular starter. And while players like Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley and Amar'e Stoudemire also deserve credit for these marks, it can't be a coincidence that Nash was the point guard for all nine of these teams.
Nash's back-to-back MVPs in 2004-05 and 2005-06 are still controversial, but concerns over that hardware shouldn't detract from the fact that this is a streak of epic proportions. The man is a singular offensive talent, and he deserves to be mentioned among the best point guards of all time. Cherish him while he's still here.
- Steve Nash