Los Angeles Lakers: Steve Nash Is a Statistical Upgrade at Point Guard

The recent addition of Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers has led to a buzz around the league and for good reason.

Kobe Bryant has never played with a point guard of this caliber since he entered the league in 1996. 

In comes Steve Nash, the dude who has averaged more than 10.5 assists in seven of his last eight seasons. Even at his age, he is still playing at a remarkable level. How great of an upgrade is this for Kobe and the Lakers?

First, Nash will likely be the first point guard to play with Kobe and average more than 8.5 assists a game. That hasn't happened once since 1996.

ESPN's player efficiency ratings, a model designed by John Hollinger to quantify a player's effectiveness, tells a deeper story about the Lakers' point guard upgrade. Here are the numbers from last year and the ranking of each respective category among the 67 qualifying point guards.


PER: 20.29 (8), TS%: .625 (1),  Assist Ratio: 44.0 (2), Estimated Wins Added: 9.1 (5)


PER: 16.79 (23), TS%: .535 (23), Assist Ratio: 30.3 (20), Estimated Wins Added: 4.9 (22)

So roughly, based on these numbers, you are talking about the Lakers instantly going from having a "starting" point guard in the bottom third of the league to the top third.

Here's why I like these numbers, and why I think they tell an even better story for Los Angeles. Obviously, the high assist ratio shows that Nash is a great playmaker, and it defines his ability to create shots for his teammates. Considering he is playing with a much better supporting cast in Los Angeles, this will be beneficial because their offensive weapons will be able to take advantage of his playmaking abilities.

I mean, would you rather feed the post to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum? Or Marcin Gortat and Channing Frye?

Would you rather run a break with Kobe Bryant? or with Jared Dudley?

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