How Steve Nash Utilized Amar’e Stoudemire and What That Means for Pau Gasol

The Steve Nash/Amar’e Stoudemire duo in Phoenix became one of the most dynamic one-two offensive punches in all of basketball over a five-season span (six seasons if you count the 2005-06 season when Stoudemire played just three regular-season games, which I don’t).

Nash returned to the Suns organization in 2004 and utilized Stoudemire majestically in a Stockton/Malone relationship. Through pick-and-rolls and pick-and-pops, Nash and Stoudemire were not only as efficient as a ticking clock on offense, but they were also extremely fun to watch.

That’s not to say Stoudemire wasn’t already a great basketball player before Nash arrived; you don’t win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award by being a mediocre talent, after all. However, when we compare Stoudemire’s stats both before Nash returned to Phoenix and in the first year with the eventual two-time MVP, Stoudemire’s offensive efficiency is drastically different.

Final season pre-Nash (2003-2004): 20.6 points per game on 47.5 percent shooting with 3.2 turnovers per game. First season with Nash (2004-2005): 26 points per game on 55.9 percent shooting with 2.4 turnovers per game.

Although Stoudemire was still scoring more than 20 points per game without Nash leading the way, his field-goal percentage with Nash jumped more than eight points. In addition, with a crafty ball-handler setting him up for easy open looks, Stoudemire recorded nearly one less turnover per game with Nash at the helm.

Stoudemire’s dip in efficiency without Nash can also be documented through his departure to New York. In his final season with Nash and the Suns, Stoudemire shot 55.7 percent from the field. In his first season with the Knicks, that percentage dropped to 50.2 percent. The former ninth overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft scored more points per game in New York, but he wasn’t putting the ball in the basket as efficiently.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers