The Phoenix Suns against better, weaker defenses

Steve Nash was still one of the best offensive players in the NBA last season, but according to a recent Basketball Reference study he was not quite the elite offensive player against the best teams that he was against the worst squads.

First the good news on Nash from Neil Paine’s look at which players excel against the best and worst defenses. Two Time was the best player in the league against below average defenses last year, just ahead of such luminaries as D-Wade, Kobe, LeBron and D-Rose.

However, Nash was “only” the 20th best offensive player against above average defenses, putting him near the bottom of Paine’s list (237th overall) in terms of the differential between how he performed against the league’s better than average defenses and the below average defenses.

My only explanation would be that the above average defenses did a better job of rotating against Nash’s brilliant passing or possibly had an elite defender to stick on Two Time to slow him down a bit.

In 2009-10 Nash was also better against worse defenses but not by as much as he ranked ninth against above average ‘D’ and fifth versus below average defense.

Hakim Warrick also was a much better player against weaker defenses last season, as was Amare Stoudemire.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jared Dudley possessed the league’s best differential in terms of how he played offensively against above average defenses compared to the below average ones last year.

I’m sure some of this had to do with luck, for example Dudley getting major opportunities against San Antonio and Miami (and scoring 60 points in the two games) right after the big midseason trade, but still it speaks to the fact that for the bulk of the season Dudley was flat-out better against better teams.

And 1

Dudley tweeting on the setback in labor negotiations: “I heard the meeting with the League didn’t go so well.U can’t get to high when you hear good news And Don’t get to low when u hear bad news.

“This is goin to be a process. The league has been planning this lockout for years, it’s not goin to get done quickly.

“Can’t wait for our @TheNBPA meeting in Vegas this Thursday! We’ve seen the owners and league game plan is, it’s time to discuss some things…” …

Nash tweeted about his Team Canada experience, elaborating on a question in which he said he probably won’t play for his national team again.

“The moments and memories I had playing for Canada are the best of my career. It wasn’t an easy decision nor one I wanted to make, to stop playing for the national team but something had to give. I was 30, playing year round, carrying injuries into both seasons, and not enjoying playing hurt. I was asked to do a lot for the suns and after 13 years with the national team I felt I had to choose one or the other to prolong my career. And the NBA is my lively hood.”

Tags: Jared Dudley Steve Nash

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