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Where Does Steve Nash Rank Among The All-Time Greats?

Submitted by on May 19, 2010 – 9:45 am10 Comments

Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash falls into the rare category of potentially being both underrated and overrated at the same time. He’s won two MVP awards (more than Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Allen Iverson and Charles Barkley), yet he’s the only MVP who hasn’t taken his team to the NBA Finals.

But now, with the emergence of young point guards such as Utah’s Deron Williams, New Orleans’ Chris Paul, Chicago’s Derrick Rose and Boston’s Rajon Rondo, you will sometimes see Nash left off the “experts” lists of current top five point guards. As Nash’s Suns battle the Los Angeles Lakers for the right to represent the West in the NBA Finals, the question has to be askedÚ Where does Steve Nash rank on the list of the best NBA point guards of all-time?

We’ll focus on point guards of the modern era, for two reasons—I didn’t see any of the older generation of point guards play live, plus the game has changed so much it’s nearly impossible to compare guys like Gary Payton to Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson or Walt Frazier. Here’s the general consensus, top five point guards since 1980 (all are currently retired, except for Jason Kidd, who should be hanging up the Nikes very soon).

1. Magic Johnson
Five NBA titles, three NBA MVPs, three NBA Finals MVPs, nine All-NBA First Teams, 12-time All-Star

2. Isiah Thomas
Two NBA titles, one NBA Finals MVP, three All-NBA First Teams, 12-time All-Star

3. John Stockton
Two All-NBA First Teams, 10-time All-Star, all-time leader in assists (15,806), two trips to the NBA Finals (lost to Michael Jordan’s Bulls both times)

4a. Jason Kidd
Five All-NBA First Teams, 10-time All-Star, two trips to the NBA Finals (lost to Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers, and Tim Duncan’s Spurs)

4b. Gary Payton
One NBA title (as a supporting player), two All-NBA First Teams, nine-time All-Star, nine-time All-Defensive First Team selection (a NBA record), third most technical fouls in NBA history (plus Payton was a great team motivator—check out his pre-game pep talk here)

And as a reference point, here’s Nash’s career achievements to date…
Two NBA MVPs, three All-NBA First Teams, seven-time All-Star

So, where do you rank Nash? Does he crack this top five? Do his MVP awards put him above Kidd and Payton? If he wins a NBA title this year do you slot him above Stockton? Can he ever knock Isiah out of the number two spot? (He’s not touching Magic so don’t even go there.)

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