The Lakers Should Dash to Give Steve Nash Cash - Fan's Analysis

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The Los Angeles Times reported today that the Lakers are trying to acquire Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns by using the team's $9 million trade exception stemming from the Lamar Odom trade.

As a Lakers fan I would love to see Steve Nash wearing the purple and gold.

With Kobe Bryant's career winding down the Lakers are clearly in "win now" mode, and Steve Nash running the point would give Los Angeles a legitimate shot at returning to the NBA Finals. Despite being 38 years old, Steve Nash brings two skills the Lakers desperately need - play-making and 3-point shooting.

The Playmaker

Steve Nash has been among the NBA's Top-3 in assists per game in each of the last nine NBA seasons, including leading the league in assists five times.

In 2012 Steve Nash's 10.7 assists per game were good enough for second in the NBA, an amazing feat when considering the roster Nash was playing with in Phoenix. The 2012 Suns lineup did not feature a single player who could create his own shot. The players starting with Nash included Marcin Gortat (15.4 PPG), Jared Dudley (12.7), Channing Frye (10.5), and Grant Hill (10.2).

Just let that sink in: Steve Nash nearly led the NBA in assists on a team whose most potent offensive weapons were Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley.

Just imagine what Steve Nash could do with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum.

The 3-Point Maestro

Quick question: Who has been the NBA's best 3-point shooter over the last 10 years?

If your gut answer was Ray Allen you might want to lay off the pork rinds and Red Bull, because your gut was wrong. Way, way wrong.

Without doubt, Steve Nash has been the NBA's best 3-point shooter over the last decade.

By "best" I am not just referring to the total number of 3-point field goals made. The best 3-point shooters are measured by both the quantity of threes they hit and their field goal percentage.

According to pro-basketball-reference.com (data here), Steve Nash has made 1,162 3-point field goals over the last 10 years, placing him 11th overall in the number of shots made.

However, Steve Nash has absolutely dominated the league in 3-point shooting percentage over the last decade. Nash's 43.1% shooting percentage from downtown is so far ahead of second place - Daniel Gibson at 41.6% - that Steve Nash is in a class by himself.

By comparison, Ray Allen's 1,790 3-pointers over the last 10 years leads the NBA. But Ray Allen's shooting percentage from beyond the arc is just 39.7%, significantly lagging Steve Nash's 43.1%. Over the last decade, Steve Nash has hands-down been the NBA's best 3-point shooter.

The Lakers need a 3-point marksman like Nash to stretch the defense.

In 2012 the Lakers 32.6% team shooting percentage from the 3-point line tied for 25th in the NBA. The only teams worse than the Lakers were the Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, and Charlotte Bobcats - not exactly the company the Lakers want to keep.

With Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Pau Gasol demanding constant attention from the defense, Steve Nash would have more open looks from downtown as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers than he has had at any point in his career.

Returning to Glory

While Steve Nash's defense can be suspect at times, his overall play would be a huge boost for the Lakers. A "Big Four" of Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, and Nash would make the Lakers title contenders for the next 2-3 years.

As a Lakers fan, this is music to my ears.

Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:

Could Kobe Bryant vs. Andrew Bynum Become the Next Kobe vs. Shaq?

Top Five Lakers Playoff Moments in the Kobe Era

Kobe Bryant's Top-5 Most Ridiculous Box Scores

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