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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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  • Modi says:

    damn. what a great question. and it’s a shame the world isn’t chiming in, because this is something epic.

    i think that the only reason he’s “underrated” is because the media doesn’t give him enough love, but i think on the court, he’s hella respected. he may not sell tickets like some big names, but he produces and works like a maniac. remember when his eye was swollen shut, and he STILL played with it like that? that’s warrior status. i didn’t even watch the game, but i’d probably rent it from blockbuster if i could. that’s how serious it was.

  • Modi says:

    where does he rank? pretty damn high. he’s like a stockton with less defense. two MVP awards but not the celebrity that lebron or kobe is, so he doesn’t get noticed. he is, however, respected by those who matter (i was taught that respect is only for those in the know, aka the people that really matter [coaches, players on the court, etc.] so he’s appreciated by those who actually matter/care. maybe he needs more money, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

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  • Superconductor says:

    (He’s not touching Magic so don’t even go there.)

    Only people who had not seen Magic play would go there… Those of us lucky enough to catch the ‘magic’ know better. Cheers

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