Examining the Perils and Positives of Steve Nash’s Passing off the Dribble

The late, great John Wooden was no fan of one-handed passes. During his time at UCLA, he emphasized the importance of making the fundamentally sound play whenever possible, which often meant keeping two hands on the ball and suspending the dribble when passing.

Then again, as saintly as the "Wizard of Westwood" may have been, he didn't care for dunking and actually preferred baseball to basketball.

Steve Nash wasn't always a basketball savant, either. He got his start in sports on the soccer pitch in British Columbia and didn't pick up basketball until his early teen years.

Judging by the way Nash plays now, he might've missed out on Wooden's teachings.

Few players in the NBA today pass off the dribble as frequently or as spectacularly as does Nash. Plays like this, jaw-dropping as they may be, are simply par for the course when Nash is at the point\, and figure to be a welcome sight for the Los Angeles Lakers this season:


Not that such pretty passes aren't without peril. Nash posted the third-worst turnover rate of any point guard who played at least 20 minutes per game last season, giving the ball away on 27.1 percent of his possessions (per Hoopdata).

Of course, it'd stand to reason that a pass-first point guard who was as responsible for running an offense with as subpar a supporting cast as Nash had with the Phoenix Suns would wind up losing the rock so often.

Still, there's plenty of reason for concern. Nash's turnover rate in 2011-12 was easily the worst of his Hall of Fame career, even though he posted his lowest usage rate since his days with the Dallas Mavericks and ranked just 38th in usage among 20-minute-per-game floor generals.

It's possible that Father Time is catching up to the seemingly ageless wonder. If so, the Lakers have some reason to worry—he'll be 39 in February, with a contract that runs through the 2014-15 season....

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