This is the third in a series grading the Lakers’ efforts on their 2012-13 season.
Player: Steve Nash, Lakers guard
How he performed: 12.7 points on 49.7 percent shooting and 6.7 assists through 50 games
The Good: When he was actually healthy, Nash showed plenty of remnants that makes him one of the best NBA point guards of his generation. His season averages (12.7 points on 49.7 percent shooting and 43.8 percent from three-point range, a 92.2 percent clip from the free throw line and 6.7 assists) are fairly similar to his last year in Phoenix where he averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists while shooting 53.2, 39 and 89.4 percent, respectively. Nash also decreases his turnovers with the Lakers (2.5) compared to his last season with the Suns (3.7). Add all those numbers up, and Nash managed to become the fifth player in NBA history to collect at least 10,000 assists.
The Lakers may have gone 5-11 in his 16 games sine his return from a fractured leg that kept him out of 24 games. But that had more to do with the team’s issues on defense than Nash, who posted 9.2 assists per game in that stretch. More importantly, Nash showed willingly adapted to any role, something that Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol showed more reluctance to do in Mike D’Antoni’s system. When the Lakers had an air-it-out meeting Jan. 23 prior to the their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Nash immediately embraced becoming an off-ball shooter in favor of Kobe Bryant playing the a facilitating role. That resulted in Nash posting double-digits in scoring in 27 of the next 31 contests.