Could this be the end of the road for Steve Nash in a Phoenix Suns jersey?
After a month of de facto playoffs in which the Suns had to continue winning to keep their postseason hopes flickering, Suns fans are left with the sobering reality that they could be saying goodbye to their lovable two-time MVP tonight when the hated Spurs come to town to close out the season.
Isn’t it fitting that if this is the end, it will come against the one team that has caused Nash more pain — literally and figuratively — than any other.
This is Duncan’s Spurs, the team that eliminated a Nash contender from the postseason five times last decade while bloodying his nose, gashing his eye and knocking him into the scorer’s table for good measure.
For a game that should have gone from meaning everything to meaningless after Utah knocked the Suns out of the playoff race last night, you can’t overlook the historical importance of potentially the end of Steve Nash’s glorious eight years in the Valley.
Along the way the Suns can clinch their seventh winning season in Nash’s eight years (with last year’s 40-42 mark the only blemish) and really certify the fact that any team with Nash can play winning basketball regardless of the other pieces.
It’s probably way too late, but if the Suns really wanted to they could tank for a game. As things stand, they enter play today tied with Houston for the best record among lottery teams. However, the 12th, 13th and 14th spots are all in play since Milwaukee could tie the Suns if Phoenix loses and the Bucks win their final two contests.
As Fear the Sword wrote, “In the event that teams finish with the same record, each tied team receives the average of the total number of combinations for the positions that they occupy. … Should the average number not be an integer, a coin flip is then used to determine which team or teams receive the extra combination(s). The result of the coin flip is also used to determine who receives the earlier pick in the event that neither of the tied teams wins one of the first three picks via the lottery.”
Brushing up on NBA Draft tiebreakers is a long way from where Suns fans were thinking yesterday, yet that is now reality. The 12th spot has a 0.7 percent chance of winning the lottery, 13th 0.6 as we learned last season and 14th 0.5, so we could be in for a dramatic coin flip if the Suns end up tied with the Rockets and/or Bucks.
I assume Grant Hill and Channing Frye will be held out tonight with nothing to play for, especially since it’s questionable whether they could have played even if the season were on the line.
That should give some extra developmental time for Markieff Morris and allow Hakim Warrick to make a case for why he should not be amnestied this summer.
But overall all eyes will be on No. 13.
Unlike Amare Stoudemire’s last game, Game 6 of the 2010 Western Conference Finals, all the focus will be on the Suns’ star point guard in this season finale. It will be interesting to see if fans implore him to stay like a college underclassman considering testing the draft.
The stakes are not what he would prefer, but if this is really it for Nash in a Suns uniform, I doubt he could think of a better way to leave than with a victory over the Spurs.
Tags: Steve Nash