Why LA Lakers Must Create a Reduced Role for Steve Nash in 2013-14

The Los Angeles Lakers need Steve Nash. They need him so much, they must recognize that it's dangerous.

Mike D'Antoni may need Nash to run his offensive sets to perfection, but he also needs him, well, alive. Resting too many hopes on 39-year-old shoulders won't end well.

Nash isn't the same player Magic Mike coached in 2008. Shoot, he's not even the same player who single-handedly almost carried the Phoenix Suns to a playoff berth in 2012. 

One year has made all the difference in Los Angeles. Nash is no longer considered an ageless floor piece, and he can't be treated like one. 

Precautions must be taken and minutes monitored. Responsibilities and expectations must be tapered. Nash must be watched like a hawk and handled with care, lest the Lakers be forced to plow on without the starting point guard they'll need to contend for a postseason spot.


Learn from Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant was overworked last season, and look what happened.

I'm not directly referring to his Achilles injury. He was on the floor at a time he always would have been on the floor. We can't hang D'Antoni for that, even if some of us are still looking for someone to blame.

Instead, look at how last season turned out. Kobe notched 27.3 points and six assists in 38.6 minutes per game, but the Lakers still barely made the playoffs.

Then, you know, the injury.

Los Angeles cannot afford for something similar to happen with Nash. Expecting him to play 35-plus minutes a night at this point is unrealistic. Matching the 32.5 he logged last season is equally ambitious. 

At 39, he's the oldest player in the NBA. A 40-year-old Kurt Thomas was the league's oldest player last season, and he averaged just 10.1 minutes per game. 

Nash isn't Thomas or even someone close to Thomas. They are,...

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