Go Suns!!!

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Tonight the 28-26 Phoenix Suns, who currently occupy the 9th spot in the Western Conference, will take on the 29-25 Denver Nuggets, currently occupying the 8th and final seed in the NBA's Western Conference playoff race. If the Suns can win tonight in Denver, and receive a little help from Houston by losing to the Los Angeles Lakers tonight as well, then Phoenix will move into a three-way tie with the Nuggets and Rockets for the 8th seed.

The Suns have been on a hot streak lately in their push for playoff contention, winning their last three consecutive games and 16 of their last 23 in all. The Nuggets on the other hand have been playing a bit less stellar lately, but that's in large part due to a seven-game road trip which they just ended on Wednesday with a loss to New Orleans to go 4-3 over that stretch.

With only 12 games left including tonight's, there simply isn't much room for error for the Suns. I won't go so far as to call this game a "must win", but it's certainly a high stakes game that could either propel them into the heart of the playoff hunt, or set them back significantly. After a huge win against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night, a win tonight against the Nuggets would give the Suns a huge boost to both their playoff chances as well as their confidence in themselves and their team as a whole.

Do the Suns have what it takes to get a big win in Denver tonight? Read on after the jump for a breakdown of what to expect in tonight's match-up.

Here's a look at the Nuggets:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Ty Lawson 49 35.3 6.0 12.5 47.8 1.1 3.3 34.4 2.9 3.5 82.0 0.9 2.9 3.8 6.8 2.7 1.4 0.1 1.6 15.9
Danilo Gallinari 33 31.3 4.7 10.9 42.7 1.4 4.3 31.9 4.5 5.2 87.6 0.7 4.2 4.9 2.6 1.5 1.1 0.5 1.9 15.2
Al Harrington 54 28.1 5.5 12.3 44.9 1.4 4.6 30.5 1.9 3.0 65.6 1.2 5.2 6.4 1.5 1.8 0.9 0.2 2.9 14.4
Arron Afflalo 50 32.7 4.8 10.7 45.1 1.4 3.6 38.5 3.3 4.1 79.2 0.6 2.4 3.0 2.2 1.3 0.6 0.3 2.2 14.4
JaVale McGee 49 26.4 5.1 9.4 54.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.3 2.8 48.9 2.9 5.5 8.5 0.6 1.6 0.6 2.3 2.9 11.5
Wilson Chandler 7 29.6 4.4 11.0 40.3 0.4 1.7 25.0 1.4 1.7 83.3 0.9 5.0 5.9 2.4 2.6 0.9 0.9 2.6 10.7
Andre Miller 54 27.7 3.7 8.3 45.2 0.3 1.3 24.3 2.2 2.7 80.7 0.8 2.5 3.3 6.4 2.6 1.0 0.1 2.0 10.0
Kenneth Faried 34 21.1 3.6 6.1 59.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.4 3.4 70.4 2.9 4.3 7.1 0.6 1.1 0.7 1.0 2.5 9.6
Corey Brewer 47 22.0 3.4 8.1 42.2 0.6 2.2 26.5 1.7 2.5 68.6 0.8 2.0 2.8 1.4 1.0 1.2 0.3 1.8 9.1
Rudy Fernandez 31 22.9 3.2 7.3 44.0 1.3 3.9 32.8 1.0 1.4 69.8 0.3 1.8 2.1 2.4 1.3 1.0 0.1 1.2 8.6
Timofey Mozgov 39 16.4 2.3 4.5 51.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.9 1.4 66.7 1.3 3.0 4.3 0.5 1.2 0.3 0.9 2.0 5.5
Kosta Koufos 36 16.3 2.4 3.9 59.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 1.1 61.5 1.9 3.3 5.3 0.2 0.8 0.5 0.9 1.9 5.4
Chris Andersen 32 15.2 1.8 3.4 54.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.6 2.6 61.0 1.5 3.1 4.6 0.2 0.5 0.6 1.4 1.6 5.3
Jordan Hamilton 20 9.9 1.8 4.1 42.7 0.8 1.9 42.1 0.1 0.3 40.0 0.4 2.0 2.4 0.6 0.6 0.1 0.1 0.7 4.4
Julyan Stone 18 8.4 0.7 1.6 44.8 0.1 0.6 18.2 0.4 0.6 72.7 0.3 0.9 1.2 1.6 0.6 0.3 0.3 0.9 2.0


As you can see, the Nuggets are a fairly well-balanced team who like the Suns lack a real go-to scorer, but who have many viable options and contributors who can potentially catch fire on any given night and carry their team. But unlike the Suns, their most prolific scorer is also their point guard, Ty Lawson, who is as quick as they come at beating the defense and driving to the basket, but who also does a good job of distributing the ball to his teammates around him. Other than Lawson, the Nuggets can count on Afflalo, McGee, Harrington, Chandler, Faried, Miller, and Brewer to help them by playing significant minutes, and making meaningful contributions on a nightly basis.


Injuries:

Suns: Out - Grant Hill (Knee)

Nuggets: Out - Danilo Gallinari (broken thumb), Rudy Fernandez (back); Questionable - Wilson Chandler (groin)


Key Match-Ups:

Steve Nash vs. Ty Lawson - Ty Lawson is like lightning in a bottle with his 5'10" strong frame and super fast speed. Lawson can use his small yet powerful and fast physique to power into the lane, or to create space and shoot from outside. He is also a skilled passer with good court vision who often creates passing opportunities by driving the lane. However, Steve Nash is still playing at arguably the highest level of any true point guard in the league, and continues to lead the league in both assists and also in field goal percentage among guards. (Advantage - Suns)

Shannon Brown vs. Aaron Afflalo - In the absence of Grant Hill, Shannon Brown will likely be given the task of stopping Aaron Afflalo, the Nugget's most potent scoring wing. Afflalo is averaging more than 14 points per game on a team who shares the ball and scoring responsibility as well as anyone, and stopping him will likely be one of the main focuses of the Suns' defense tonight. Shannon Brown will need to play well defensively, but one of the best ways he can limit Afflalo's effectiveness is by making him work hard on the other end of the court. Brown will need to play smart and effective on both ends of the floor tonight, something he struggles to do at times. (Advantage - Nuggets)

Channing Frye vs. Kenneth Faried - This will be one of the more intriguing match-ups of tonight's games. With Gallinari out due to an injury, Faried will get the start and he has been playing extremely well for Denver, averaging around 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block over the last five games. Frye on the other hand had a relatively slow start to the season, but has since come on strong on both ends of the floor. Frye is starting to play like more of a big man lately instead of just standing on the 3 point line on offense, and over the last five games he has averaged 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. This will be a match-up to keep an eye on tonight as both players have the potential to make a significant impact for their respective teams. However, I have to give Frye the edge here with his better overall game and experience (Advantage - Suns)

Marcin Gortat vs JaVale McGee - McGee is often criticized for his bizarre plays and questionable decision making at times, but he has given the Nuggets tremendous size, length, and athleticism in the post after trading away Nene and his hefty contract in order to acquire him. McGee is a legit 7-footer with a ridiculous 7'6" wingspan and great hops to go with it. McGee's biggest downside is what's lacking between his ears, making mistakes and poor judgements that often nullify many of the things he does so well. Gortat on the other hand is almost the opposite. While he is also a legit 7-footer, he isn't in the same league as McGee in terms of his physical gifts or raw athleticism. Instead, Gortat has a great understanding of the game and has worked hard to improve his footwork and post skills to maximize his extremely agile and mobile frame. Gortat has proven to be a much more consistent and efficient player overall, and I believe he should gain the upper hand on McGee in tonight's match-up. (Advantage - Suns)

Suns Bench vs. Nuggets Bench - In my opinion, this could be the biggest key to the game tonight with both teams having a very deep bench that is crucial their success. The Suns' bench has really come on strong lately due in large part to the play of Robin Lopez, Michael Redd, and Sebastian Telfair...while also getting meaningful contributions from Josh Childress and Markieff Morris as well. However, the Nuggets bench also brings both talent and experience behind Al Harrington, Andre Miller, Wilson Chandler (questionable), Kosta Koufus, Chris Anderson, and Timofey Mozgov. Assuming all of the players listed above play tonight, I have to give the edge here to Denver based mostly on their more experienced point guard play. However, if the Suns bench comes out hot this could certainly go the other way. (Advantage - Nuggets)


Regardless of the outcome, tonight's game will have huge playoff implications for both teams. Denver is in the position to hold serve against the surging Suns at home tonight, retain their spot as the 8th seed, and create some distance between themselves and both the Suns and the Jazz who are hot on their trail. However, if the Suns can pull off another big win tonight on the road against a fellow Western Conference opponent, they will significantly improve their chances of making the playoffs and could actually move into a tie for the 8th seed depending on the outcome of the Rockets/Lakers game.

Will the Suns have what it takes to make this final push for the post season?


Additional Game Links:

Suns vs Nuggets coverage

Suns vs Nuggets preview

Denver Stiffs


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Hey, I do the best I can!  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns are playing well. Better than they've played all season long. It took this team a while to gel, but now they are winning games they should win and hitting their stride when the games matter the most.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

It should. Since Alvin Gentry took over as the Phoenix Suns coach a little more than three seasons ago, his teams have played better and won more games in the second half than in the first half.

2009-10, Gentry's first full season as head coach

In 2009-2010, the Suns finished on a 28-7 run to vault all the way to 3rd in the West after starting the season only 26-21 despite featuring 2 all-stars, league-leading 3-shooting and a former dunk champion in their lineup. That season featured what turned out to be 3 different teams. The one that started 14-3 did it with smoke, mirrors and a great offense hiding a horrible, horrible defense. The poor defense and rebounding caught up with them, resulting in a 12-18 midseason stretch. I remember our vaunted blog leader writing an article in January that showed these two stretches, concluding that the latter was longer and therefore more indicative of the team's future.

Gentry, Nash and Hill preached patience during the bad stretch, saying they just needed to find that right combination in the lineup. The bench was playing poorly. Soon after that, Gentry found it by moving Robin Lopez into the starting lineup and Channing Frye to the bench. Suddenly, the starting unit had defense and the bench had offense.

On January 28, 2010, the team as a whole ramped up their games for the stretch run and ran out to a 28-7 finish that included offense, defense and rebounding.

2010-2011

That season was a struggle, highlighted by a big midseason trade of half the lineup. But Gentry found a sweet spot once again with a 10-man rotation that vaulted the Suns to a 17-7 record from January 12 - March 4.

This run could legitimately have lasted through the end of the season and into the playoffs, but Channing Frye inexplicably separated his own shoulder in a game against Oklahoma City (Durant was in the vicinity but no foul was called) and the Suns' season was effectively over. They just didn't have the horses to finish the job without a healthy Frye in the lineup.

2011-12

Here we are again. It should be no surprise that Gentry has found the sweet spot in the Suns rotation. After starting the season a paltry 12-19, the Suns are currently on a 16-7 run since February 19, 2012. With 12 games to go, the Suns are in a dogfight for a playoff spot.

If you factor in the late start to the season, the point in time at which the Suns started to gel if eerily close to the prior 2 seasons under Gentry.

So why does it take so long for Gentry's teams to gel? You can blame roster turnover for part of it, but not all. This year, the Suns returned the same starting lineup from the end of last season. Fully 8 guys are in at least their second year with the Suns, if not a lot longer: Steve Nash (8 years), Grant Hill (5), Robin Lopez (4), Jared Dudley (4), Channing Frye (3), Marcin Gortat (2), Hakim Warrick (2), Josh Childress (2).

That's all 5 of the starting lineup, 1 regular rotation player and 2 bit players. The coaching staff is a veteran one as well. Gentry has been here 8 years total (4.5 as an assistant), while everyone other than Elston Turner is in their 4th.

The key here is the bench. In his 3 full seasons as Suns coach, Gentry has stubbornly stuck with a minimum 10-man rotation in every single game. Sometimes he plays 11 or 12 guys, even. That means he needs to find 5-7 guys who can predictably play well every night.

Some of that is keeping the minutes down for their best players: Steve Nash and Grant Hill. The backup PG and SF are going to get minutes. And some of that is a roster full of different, but equally middling talent after those two. Marcin Gortat, their third best player, is really good but is he that much better than an energetic Lopez? Channing Frye is good but doesn't always bring his A-game on offense, which makes him interchangeable with rookie Markieff Morris. And so on down the line.

So Gentry has to spend half a season to find the sweet spot on his bench each year - the best combination of players and minutes for 5 of 8 guys sitting there next to him after the opening tip. Only one of who turned out to be the "best 5" this year was on the team a year ago.

We need to give Gentry credit for finding a winning combination every season, despite turnover on his roster and less-than-stellar talent.

28-7 finish in 2010

17-7 run in 2011 before Frye's devastating injury

16-7 this season, with 12 games to go.

Let's keep this ball rolling, and give Gentry credit for making it happen!


What do you think is going on in his head...? Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

A very slow Thursday for the Western Conference as only one playoff contending team took to the hardwood last night. It was the Los Angeles Clippers (33-22) and they cruised to an easy victory against the shuffling Sacramento Kings (19-36) 93-85.

With their win the Clips pick up a .5 game on the trailing Grizzlies and Mavericks to pad a 2 game lead on the race for home-court advantage in the West. The Suns are 4.5 games out of 4th... FYI.

Other than that it was a bunch of East teams including the Dwight Howard circus that played last night. For updated standings, awesome videos and irresistible links you better continue reading.

Western Conference Standings via NBA.com

Wcstandings4-6_medium

Pretty much the same as yesterday with the small exception of the Clippers gaining that .5. Peep the highlights from last night, videos are always cool - especially on FRIDAY! FRIDAY! ...

FRIDAY LINKS

Here's a collection of enjoyable reads to get you closer to the weekend the Suns at Nuggets game tonight.

Report: Gallinari targets return on Monday? - Denver Stiffs

Danilo Gallinari sets Monday as a date for his possible return to the Nuggets' lineup.

Nuggets at Hornets recap: Balanced bugs closeout Nuggets' road trip with a whimper ... - Denver Stiffs

The Nuggets concluded their seven-game road trip with another loss to the Western Conference's worst team.

Denver Nuggets hit homestretch needing hot streak - The Denver Post
The Nuggets, Rockets, Suns and Jazz are fighting for the last two spots, all within 1½ games of one another. The Nuggets and Rockets are 1½ games behind Dallas and Memphis for the fifth and six spots in the West. The Suns move into a tie with the Nuggets, who have 12 games left, if they win tonight.

The All Important Matchup With The Suns - Nugg Love - A Denver Nuggets Fan Site -

No doubt, the matchup between Nash and Lawson is important. When the two matched up last season, the Nuggets won 116-97 and Lawson had 20 points and 11 rebounds – while Nash was held to only seven points and six turnovers.

Suns continue playoff push against Nuggets -Fox Sports Arizona
The Suns will complete their three-game trip by trying to win for the fifth time in six road games. Nash, averaging 17.6 points and 11.3 assists in his last eight games in Denver, may see plenty of Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson with backup Andre Miller's status questionable. Miller was ejected Wednesday for a flagrant-2 foul on New Orleans' Carl Landry.

Suns' Sebastian Telfair, Michael Redd stepping up off the bench - Coro
"If I'm not aggressive, I'm not helping the team," Telfair said. "I was out there aggravated. I wasn't enjoying myself on the court. I thought about it and watched film. I told myself I was going to be aggressive and have fun and I played a lot better."

Steve Nash is not Dwight Howard: Suns lucky to have point guard - ArizonaSports.com
"I do know that if you start players running your franchise, I don't know where it's ever worked out," he said.

The secret behind the Phoenix Suns’ elite training staff - valleyofthesuns.com
The Phoenix Suns' training staff is renowned for keeping players healthy, particularly aging stars who seem to turn back the clock. Here's how they do it.

Hill among winners of 'Human Spirit' award
Grant Hill, Jim Calhoun, Richard Lapchick win Naismith organization's Mannie Jackson Award.

Today in NBA History: April 6 : Court Crusades
On April 6, 1995 Danny Ainge of the Phoenix Suns hit two three-pointers in a victory over the Washington Wizards, making him the third player in NBA history to reach 1,000 career three-pointers.

For more exclusive content, follow us on Twitter @Brightsidesun and "Like" us on Facebook.


Sure, Steve Nash can hit game-winners like this for another three seasons. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

When Steve Nash told ESPN's Marc Stein he'd like to sign a new 3-year contract this summer and then possibly another contract after that, jaws dropped at the thought that Nash believes he can still be a productive NBA point guard up to and past age 40. The list of players who have played effectively into their late 30s and early 40s is short, and mostly includes big men.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Dikembe Mutombo and Robert Parish are among the legendary post players who were able to extend their NBA careers past age 40, with Abdul-Jabbar and Parish each starting over 70 games during the seasons started when they were 40. The iconic Abdul-Jabbar went on to start 74 games as a 41-year old in his last NBA season, and Parish completed his 21st and final season as a bit player at age 42.

None of these players, of course, had games that in any way resemble Nash's. However, there is one Hall of Fame player who retired at age 41, a player who started and produced at point guard until the end, a player with whom Nash has been compared for much of his career: John Stockton.

If ever there was a chance to put that comparison to the test, a look at superstar point guards at the end of their careers is it. And the good news is that Stockton saw almost no decline in production as he played into his golden years.

Let's dive into some data after the jump.

The goal of this research is to assess the Suns current situation and whether Stockton's late-career performance can act as a guide as we estimate what Nash will be able to accomplish in the next three years. The topic of which player is/was better between Nash and Stockton will be discussed for years and is best left for another day, after Nash's playing days are over.

It's easy to see the similarities between the players, with both drafted in the middle of the first round from mid-major west coast colleges (Nash from Santa Clara, Stockton from Gonzaga) and then going on to star in small to mid-market NBA cities Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

But there are significant differences in their games. While Nash's play can be described as a work of art, filled with spectacular passes in a run and gun scheme, Stockton was a tough as nails, bring your lunch pail to work type. This is not a knock on Stockton whatsoever. He produced more than Nash by most measures, and his teams won big and won consistently, making the NBA Finals twice but unable to overcome Michael Jordan's Bulls each time.

Stockton is the NBA's all-time leader in assists and steals, and that assist record isn't going to be broken any time soon. In sixth place, Nash is nearly 5000 behind Stockton's 15,806 and even second place Jason Kidd is well behind at under 12,000.

Durability, along with sustained excellence, was what allowed Stockton to put up such numbers. Incredibly, he played all 82 games in 16 of his 19 seasons (all 50 in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 campaign) and only missed 22 games total out of a possible 1,526, meaning he played in 98.5% of the games he possibly could have over his career.

Nash hasn't missed many games either, starting over 70 in every season since 1999-00 and not hitting his career peak until his early 30s. Stockton got a head start on Nash, but the production of the two has been similarly steady through their 30s, as can be seen in this chart.

Nash_and_stockton_medium

{Some notes about this chart: First, the usual disclaimer that no single stat can tell a player's overall value, but win shares is about as close as it gets. Age is defined as the age of the player at the start of the season used, and I used total win shares per season rather than WS/48 since durability is important here. The ability to dependably produce is key, so bottom line production matters. I also adjusted Stockton's 98-99 season to prorate for the games missed due to the lockout, and adjusted Nash's in the same way for this season.}

Each player had a bit of a mid-30s dip, as Nash suffered through the Porter/Shaq phase and Stockton his one major injury that took 18 games from him in his age 35 season. Nash also hasn't produced at his peak levels of the "7 Seconds or Less" Suns since the pieces of that team have moved away around him, but has still been close to his career average over the last four seasons.

Look at Stockton's final five seasons. But for a slight dip in the last year, he produced much as he had for the rest of his career. Here's a look at those seasons in basic stats, compared to career averages.

Season Age Tm Lg G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1984-85 22 UTA NBA 82 5 18.2 1.9 4.1 .471 0.0 0.1 .182 1.7 2.4 .736 0.3 1.0 1.3 5.1 1.3 0.1 1.8 2.5 5.6
1985-86 23 UTA NBA 82 38 23.6 2.8 5.7 .489 0.0 0.2 .133 2.1 2.5 .839 0.4 1.8 2.2 7.4 1.9 0.1 2.0 2.8 7.7
1986-87 24 UTA NBA 82 2 22.7 2.8 5.6 .499 0.1 0.5 .179 2.2 2.8 .782 0.4 1.5 1.8 8.2 2.2 0.2 2.0 2.7 7.9
1987-88 25 UTA NBA 82 79 34.7 5.5 9.6 .574 0.3 0.8 .358 3.3 4.0 .840 0.7 2.2 2.9 13.8 3.0 0.2 3.2 3.0 14.7
1988-89 26 UTA NBA 82 82 38.7 6.1 11.3 .538 0.2 0.8 .242 4.8 5.5 .863 1.0 2.0 3.0 13.6 3.2 0.2 3.8 2.9 17.1
1989-90 27 UTA NBA 78 78 37.4 6.1 11.8 .514 0.6 1.4 .416 4.5 5.5 .819 0.7 1.9 2.6 14.5 2.7 0.2 3.5 3.0 17.2
1990-91 28 UTA NBA 82 82 37.8 6.0 11.9 .507 0.7 2.0 .345 4.4 5.3 .836 0.6 2.3 2.9 14.2 2.9 0.2 3.6 2.8 17.2
1991-92 29 UTA NBA 82 82 36.6 5.5 11.5 .482 1.0 2.5 .407 3.8 4.5 .842 0.8 2.5 3.3 13.7 3.0 0.3 3.5 2.9 15.8
1992-93 30 UTA NBA 82 82 34.9 5.3 11.0 .486 0.9 2.3 .385 3.6 4.5 .798 0.8 2.1 2.9 12.0 2.4 0.3 3.2 2.7 15.1
1993-94 31 UTA NBA 82 82 36.2 5.6 10.6 .528 0.6 1.8 .322 3.3 4.1 .805 0.9 2.3 3.1 12.6 2.4 0.3 3.2 2.9 15.1
1994-95 32 UTA NBA 82 82 35.0 5.2 9.6 .542 1.2 2.8 .449 3.0 3.7 .804 0.7 2.4 3.1 12.3 2.4 0.3 3.3 2.6 14.7
1995-96 33 UTA NBA 82 82 35.5 5.4 10.0 .538 1.2 2.7 .422 2.9 3.4 .830 0.7 2.1 2.8 11.2 1.7 0.2 3.0 2.5 14.7
1996-97 34 UTA NBA 82 82 35.3 5.1 9.3 .548 0.9 2.2 .422 3.4 4.0 .846 0.5 2.2 2.8 10.5 2.0 0.2 3.0 2.4 14.4
1997-98 35 UTA NBA 64 64 29.0 4.2 8.0 .528 0.6 1.4 .429 3.0 3.6 .827 0.5 2.0 2.6 8.5 1.4 0.2 2.5 2.2 12.0
1998-99 36 UTA NBA 50 50 28.2 4.0 8.2 .488 0.3 1.0 .320 2.7 3.4 .811 0.6 2.3 2.9 7.5 1.6 0.3 2.2 2.1 11.1
1999-00 37 UTA NBA 82 82 29.7 4.4 8.8 .501 0.5 1.5 .355 2.7 3.1 .860 0.5 2.1 2.6 8.6 1.7 0.2 2.2 2.3 12.1
2000-01 38 UTA NBA 82 82 29.2 4.0 7.9 .504 0.7 1.6 .462 2.8 3.4 .817 0.7 2.1 2.8 8.7 1.6 0.3 2.5 2.4 11.5
2001-02 39 UTA NBA 82 82 31.3 4.9 9.5 .517 0.3 1.0 .321 3.4 3.9 .857 0.7 2.5 3.2 8.2 1.9 0.3 2.5 2.5 13.4
2002-03 40 UTA NBA 82 82 27.7 3.8 7.8 .483 0.4 1.0 .363 2.9 3.5 .826 0.6 1.8 2.5 7.7 1.7 0.2 2.2 2.2 10.8
Career NBA 1504 1300 31.8 4.7 9.1 .515 0.6 1.5 .384 3.2 3.9 .826 0.6 2.1 2.7 10.5 2.2 0.2 2.8 2.6 13.1
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/5/2012.

Now, Nash vs. Stockton at the same age of 37, AKA current Nash.

Rk Player Season Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1 Steve Nash 2011-12 37 50 50 32.5 4.9 9.2 .538 0.9 2.4 .398 2.0 2.2 .883 0.4 2.7 3.1 11.2 0.7 0.1 3.6 0.9 12.8
2 John Stockton* 1999-00 37 82 82 29.7 4.4 8.8 .501 0.5 1.5 .355 2.7 3.1 .860 0.5 2.1 2.6 8.6 1.7 0.2 2.2 2.3 12.1
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/5/2012.

Current Nash is outperforming a 37-year old Stockton in assists and shooting percentage and, while it's true that Nash has never had the amazing durability of Stockton and has been hindered by occasional flare-ups of his back and groin, Nash has a lot less mileage on him than Stockton did at the same age.

Heading into his age 38 season, Stockton had played 46,448 minutes. Pending the final 12 games of this season, Nash has played 40,023, a difference of about two full seasons. So Nash should theoretically have more left in his tank. Watching him play this season, but for a couple of bumps in the road, he passes the eyeball test.

All of which is to say that, while what Nash will attempt to do is rarely achieved, it's not unprecedented. Nobody can tell the future, especially with regards to injuries, but there are no obvious reasons he can't continue his current level of play for at least another couple of seasons.

It would be easy to say that Nash won't be able to produce effectively in three years at age 41, but how many thought he'd be able to play three more good years when he was 35? Or even 30? Just ask Mark Cuban.

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PHOENIX — Channing Frye entered the penultimate game of last season in one of his patented shooting slumps. The Suns’ big man had misfired on 30 of his previous 39 three-pointers and 52 of his...

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