The Los Angeles Lakers may get Steve Nash back this weekend, just in time for the team’s highly anticipated showdown against the Golden State Warriors.
As it stands, there are two schools of thought on how much Nash’s return will actually help the Lakers.
The more pessimistic side argues that this group’s struggles start and end on the defensive end. They point to the fact that L.A. is 21st in points allowed and 15th in defensive efficiency, and highlight that as the problem. Their case is bolstered by the fact that the Lakers are sixth in points per game in the NBA and fifth in offensive efficiency. And if you are of the belief that only a better defense can save this squad, clearly Nash is not the answer.
The other group, though, the more positive one, suggests that the defense will improve when the offense gets its you-know-what together. They point to the fact that L.A. could have won a lot of the 14 games it lost had the offense been better, and suggest that Nash will aid the team in that department.
It’s a valid point.
The Lakers are currently 22nd in assists per game and 25th in assists ratio. They’re also among the league’s worst free throw shooting teams, by the way, which Nash should partially fix a.) by putting players in better position to score (as opposed to getting fouled) and b.) because he’s a fantastic free throw shooter himself (albeit, one that doesn’t get to the line often).
Regardless of how much he will ultimately help the team, there is no denying that Nash will help the team. And that’s why this news, by way of USA Today, was so welcomed by Laker fans on Monday night:
…a person close to Steve Nash confirmed the point guard is hoping to return on Saturday at the Golden State Warriors after being out with a left leg injury since Oct. 31. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
After a month and a half of being promised that Nash was two weeks away, you can understand why some folks would be dubious as to whether or not they’ll actually see their point guard playing on Saturday night. At the same time, this report does coincide with a lot of other reports indicating that Nash is set to make his return.
We’ll all find out what’s what soon enough, though.
(Kudos USA Today)