Steve Nash

Community Shootaround: Best Point Guard Ever

Stephen Curry isn’t reluctant to stake his claim as one of the best point guards in NBA history. The Warriors star put himself in elite company during a recent appearance on Gilbert Arenas’ podcast.

“It’s me and Magic (Johnson), is that the conversation? Obviously, I have to answer that way,” Curry said in response to a question from Arenas. “Magic’s resume is ridiculous. So the fact that we’re having that conversation, that’s the place I never thought I’d be in.”

Both players are obviously on the short list of legendary point guards. They amassed a wealth of titles and individual honors throughout their careers, and both significantly changed the way the game is played.

Curry is a four-time champion, a two-time scoring leader, a nine-time All-Star and a two-time MVP who was the first player in league history to win the award in a unanimous vote. He has 21,712 career points, 5,740 assists and a record 3,390 three-pointers, and at age 35 he still has time to add to those numbers.

Johnson was among the most dynamic players of the 1980s and the catalyst for the “Showtime” Lakers. He was an All-Star in 10 of his first 11 seasons, missing only because of injury, before HIV forced him into his first retirement in 1991. He won five titles, three MVP awards and three Finals MVP honors. With 17,707 career points and 10,141 assists, Johnson was voted onto the league’s 50th and 75th anniversary teams.

While Curry and Johnson are strong candidates, there are plenty of others to consider:

  • In the 1960s and early ’70s, Oscar Robertson was routinely putting up triple-doubles before it was celebrated as a stat. The 1964 MVP spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Royals before winning his only NBA title with the Bucks in 1971. He was an All-Star in his first 12 NBA seasons, being named MVP of the game three times, and was a nine-time first-team All-NBA selection.
  • Lakers star Jerry West was a contemporary of Robertson’s and his rival as the best guard in the game at the time. West was an All-Star in all 14 of his NBA seasons and was an All-NBA selection 12 times. He was named Finals MVP in 1969 even though the Lakers lost the series, then won his only championship in 1972.
  • John Stockton is the NBA’s career leader in assists with 15,806 and led the league in that category for nine straight seasons. The 10-time All-Star is also the league’s all-time steals champ with 3,265 and was named to the All-Defensive Team five times. He spent his entire 19-year career with the Jazz and remained productive through age 40.
  • Isiah Thomas led the “Bad Boy” Pistons to titles in 1989 and 1990 at a time when the Lakers and Celtics were dominating the league. The 12-time All-Star was named Finals MVP in 1990 and twice captured All-Star MVP honors.
  • Chris Paul is the only active point guard with a resume similar to Curry’s, although without a similar level of playoff success. A 12-time All-Star, Paul led the NBA in assists five times and in steals six times. He’s an 11-time All-NBA and nine-time All-Defensive Team selection.
  • Steve Nash is a two-time MVP who also revolutionized the game with his accomplishments in Phoenix. An eight-time All-Star and seven-time All-NBA selection, he reached the 50-40-90 club as a shooter four times in his career.

There are many more to consider, such as Bob Cousy, Walt Frazier, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Nate Archibald, Pete Maravich and others, and we could go on much longer about their place in the history of the league. But we want to get your opinion. Who’s really the best point guard that has ever played? Please leave your response in the space below.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Nash, Fernandez, Raptors’ Draft, Simmons

James Harden‘s free agency will likely come down to re-signing with the Sixers or signing up for a second stint with the Rockets, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on the Ryen Russillo podcast (hat tip to RealGM). Harden is expected to decline his $35.64MM option.

“I really think he’s torn with the prospect of staying in Philadelphia or moving on to Houston potentially and returning back to his home,” Charania said. “That’s where his roots are and his family there, of course. They (the Rockets) have got upwards of $60 million (in cap space). They can make even more money available. Close to $70 million in cap space.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • As of Monday, neither former Nets coach Steve Nash nor Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez had been invited for a second interview for the Raptors head coaching job, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. However, the front office is taking its time on hiring Nick Nurse’s replacement, so they could eventually be called in for another interview. There’s no immediate need to fill the position, since assistant GM and VP of player personnel Dan Tolzman and his staff are handling draft preparations.
  • Speaking of the Raptors’ draft, they hold the No. 13 pick in the first round. Eric Koreen of The Athletic discusses a handful of candidates they could consider at that spot, with Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin and Kansas’ Gradey Dick viewed as the best fits if they’re still available, since the shooting guard position is in flux.
  • The Nets’ Ben Simmons posted a couple of workout images on social media, indicating that he has moved from rehab and recovery to getting back on the court, Nets Daily relays. Simmons didn’t play after Feb. 15 due to a nerve impingement in his back. He could be added to Australia’s roster for the FIBA World Cup if he’s healthy enough to play later this summer.

Raptors Notes: Nash, Hammon, Williams, Griffin, Offseason Approach

Steve Nash, who interviewed for the Raptors’ head coaching vacancy, may be a better fit for Toronto than he was in Brooklyn, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic. With the Nets, Nash was swallowed up by the superstars and their egos. Nash, who was known during his playing career as one of the all-time great teammates, could see his leadership qualities prove more effective in Toronto with a team that lacked cohesion throughout the season, Koreen writes.

We have more on the Raptors:

  • It doesn’t appear Becky Hammon will make history with the Raptors. The Las Vegas Aces head coach did not formally interview with Toronto’s brass, though there were conversations, Michael Grange of reports. There was a general sense that Hammon wasn’t in a rush to leave her current job.
  • Former Suns head coach Monty Williams is on the Raptors’ radar, Grange adds in the same story, and long-time assistant coach Adrian Griffin remains the leading internal candidate. Griffin is also a finalist for the Bucks’ head coaching job.
  • The Raptors are wise to take their time and look at a wide variety of candidates, Koreen opines. Toronto isn’t in the same spot as the Bucks and Sixers, who are looking for a coach to quickly guide them to a championship. The Raptors can afford to explore a wider range of options and search for an open-minded coach, who could inherit most of the current roster or find himself running a team that’s been completely revamped.
  • Along those same lines, Blake Murphy of Sportnet said this offseason could go any number of ways. While the simplest outcome is for the Raptors to retain their free agents, unload some salary and use cap exceptions for upgrades, it’s also possible there could be significant roster changes.

Coaching Rumors: Mazzulla, Bucks, Williams, Suns, Raptors, Nash

Celtics staffers, including president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, have shown “unwavering support” this season for head coach Joe Mazzulla, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who says the sentiment as recently as last week was that Mazzulla would get plenty of runway to continue growing into the role he was thrust into following Ime Udoka‘s suspension last fall.

[RELATED: Joe Mazzulla In Jeopardy After Game 3 Loss?]

While it’s possible the Celtics could have a change of heart and decide to make a coaching change if the team is eliminated from the postseason in embarrassing fashion on Tuesday – or in the coming days – it would be a “stark change of direction” from the team’s original plan, Fischer writes.

While Fischer considers it unlikely that Mazzulla is replaced this offseason, he suggests that the Celtics’ coaching staff could undergo some significant changes, with multiple current assistants considered candidates to join Udoka with the Rockets. Frank Vogel and Stephen Silas are among the former head coaches who have been linked to the Celtics as possible assistant coach targets, Fischer notes.

Here’s more on the NBA’s coaching carousel from Fischer:

  • With the Bucks still focused on contending for championships with rosters built around Giannis Antetokounmpo, there’s some skepticism that Adrian Griffin – the only one of their three finalists without previous head coaching experience – will ultimately claim that job. However, Fischer acknowledges that Griffin has “certainly impressed” Bucks management during the interview process. Milwaukee’s search is expected to conclude this week, Fischer reports.
  • Many people around the league thought Monty Williams would be a serious candidate for the Bucks‘ coaching job and were surprised that he wasn’t a finalist in that process, per Fischer. The Pistons registered some interest in Williams, but he doesn’t appear to be in the mix for that job either and seems likely to take next season off, Fischer adds. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic also said Williams may not coach anywhere in 2023/24, which shouldn’t come as a surprise — he’s still owed $21MM by Phoenix, so it’s not as if he needs to rush into another position.
  • Former Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers is expected to receive consideration from the Suns, but Mike Budenholzer isn’t viewed as a likely candidate for Phoenix, Fischer writes.
  • The Raptors continue to take their time with their head coaching search, bringing back several candidates – including Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez and Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic – for second interviews, says Fischer. Many of the team’s initial meetings took place on Zoom, according to Fischer, who identifies Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as a name to watch in Toronto’s search.
  • Steve Nash, who interviewed for the Raptors’ vacancy, is “determined to learn from his shortcomings” following his first coaching stint in Brooklyn and has a strong desire to earn another head coaching job at some point, Fischer writes.

Steve Nash Interviewed For Raptors’ Coaching Job

Former Nets head coach Steve Nash interviewed for the Raptors‘ head coaching vacancy, according to Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Nets went 94-67 (.584) in Nash’s two-plus regular seasons at the helm, including a 7-9 (.438) record in the postseason. He was fired following a 2-5 start to the 2022/23 season.

An eight-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA member, five-time assist leader and a two-time league MVP as a player, Nash was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018. The 49-year-old also claimed a spot on the 75th Anniversary Team in 2021, earning recognition as one of the greatest players in league history.

Nash, who is Canadian, also played for — and was previously the general manager of — the country’s men’s national team. Obviously, that’s noteworthy due to Toronto being the lone NBA team located in Canada.

After his NBA playing days ended, Nash became a part-time consultant for the Warriors. He had no previous coaching experience prior to being named head coach of the Nets in 2020, so it was a surprising hire.

Brooklyn finished as the No. 2 seed in the East in Nash’s first season at the helm in ’20/21, losing a second-round playoff series to the eventual champion Bucks in seven games. The Nets went 44-38 in ’21/22 and entered the postseason as the No. 7 seed after a controversy- and injury-filled season. They were swept in the first round by the Celtics, who went on to make the Finals.

As Charania notes, the Raptors have undertaken an expansive search for a new head coach after firing Nick Nurse, who is now a finalist for the Bucks’ vacancy. According to our tracker, Nash is the 13th candidate either expected to or confirmed to have met with the team.

Nets’ Vaughn, Pelicans’ Green Named Coaches Of The Month

The Nets Jacque Vaughn and Pelicans Willie Green were named as Coaches of the Month for their respective conferences, the league’s PR department tweets.

Vaughn earned Eastern Conference honors by guiding his club to a 12-1 record in December. Vaughn was named Brooklyn’s head coach on Nov. 9 after Steve Nash‘s early exit. Cleveland’s J.B. Bickerstaff, Indiana’s Rick Carlisle, Orlando’s Jamahl Mosley and Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers were the other nominees, the league’s PR department adds in a separate tweet.

Green, in his second season as head coach, took Western Conference honors by leading New Orleans to a 10-5 record last month. Memphis’ Taylor Jenkins, Dallas’ Jason Kidd and Denver’s Michael Malone were the other Western Conference nominees.

Kevin Durant Talks Offseason Trade Request, Nets, Legacy, More

The Nets have had an up-and-down first month of the 2022/23 season and are in the midst of another downturn right now, having given up 153 points to the Kings in a blowout loss on Tuesday.

Still, Kevin Durant tells Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report that he likes the energy new head coach Jacque Vaughn has brought to the team. According to Durant, the Nets have been “preparing ourselves well” for games, “playing as hard as we can,” and are starting to build real chemistry.

In Durant’s view, the way the Nets are readying themselves for games under Vaughn is how the team should have been approaching its preparation last season. That was the primary reason the star forward requested a trade in the summer, he told Haynes.

“It wasn’t difficult at all to request a trade because it was about ball,” Durant said. “I went to them and was like, ‘Yo, I don’t like how we are preparing. I don’t like shootarounds. I like practices. I need more. I want to work on more s–t. Hold me accountable. Get on my ass in film if that’s going to help you get on everybody else’s head. I want to do more closeouts. I want to work on more shell drills at practice.’

“This was the type of s–t I was coming at them with. It wasn’t like, ‘Yo, y’all need to make sure everybody around me can make my life easier.’ Hell nah, I want to make everybody else’s life easier. Ask Steve Nash, you can go call him right now. I would say, ‘Yo, I need more closeout drills. We need to practice more.’ That’s what I was on.

“I wasn’t feeling that, and nobody was on that same vibe with me. Jacque Vaughn is. I had some complaints in the summer, and my complaints were not about just me; it was about how we are moving as a unit. I want us to be respected out here in the basketball world. I don’t want players to look at us and say, ‘Oh man, these (expletive) are full of s–t. That’s not the type of team I want to be on.’ So when we’re all playing like s–t, you know the one person they’re going to look at. That’s why I requested a trade.”

Durant opened up to both Haynes and Marc J. Spears of Andscape on Tuesday about a number of topics beyond his offseason trade request. Both interviews are worth checking out in full, but here are some of the highlights from the former MVP:

On the Nets’ lineup with Kyrie Irving unavailable and Ben Simmons struggling to regain his old form:

“Look at our starting lineup. Edmond Sumner, Royce O’Neale, Joe Harris, (Nic) Claxton and me. It’s not disrespect, but what are you expecting from that group? You expect us to win because I’m out there. So if you’re watching from that lens, you’re expecting us to play well because No. 7 is out there.”

On the perception that he’s not a true leader:

“I’m not a leader? What the f–k does that mean? A lot of people say I’m not a leader because I didn’t tell Kyrie to get vaccinated. Come on. Or I didn’t condemn Kyrie for leaving the team, going out and living his life. I’m not about to tell a grown-ass man what he can and can’t do with his own life and dissect his views or how he thinks about s–t.

“… I don’t need to show or tell everybody what I’m doing with my teammates so y’all can pump me up and say, ‘Yeah, KD, you’re the boss, you’re the leader.’ These other (expletives) need that. I don’t. I don’t come to you and say, ‘Haynes, write this story about me.’ I don’t do that to nobody. But I come here and respect y’all. I talk to y’all like a real one, even after a blowout (loss).”

On whether he’s happy in Brooklyn:

I’m incredible. Loving life right now. I don’t think the world understands that. Maybe I need to get miked up more. Maybe I need to have more fluff pieces written about me. Smile more in pictures.

“What’s not to love about this life? I’m a great player. I get up to go hoop every day, work on my game. I make a s–t ton of money. I buy a lot of cool s–t. I don’t understand why there’s even a question on whether I’m happy or not. I just look at the big picture of things. Obviously, basketball, I want to do well, win every game and I want s–t to be perfect. But that doesn’t mean my whole life is f—ed up.”

On his legacy as a player:

“All that extra s–t like, ‘You got to win before you retire and make sure your legacy is straight,’ that’s bulls–t to me. My legacy is predicated on what Cam Thomas is learning from me and what he’ll take away to help him by the time he’s in his 10th year. That’s my legacy. What I did with Andre Roberson, the confidence I helped him build when he was in the league. That’s my legacy. Being able to play with Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry and Kyrie and still be me. Yeah, that’s my legacy. That’s who I am. That’s what I bring to the game.

“I can play with anybody, anywhere, at any time, and you know I’m going bring it every day. That should be my legacy.”

Nets Notes: Udoka, Vaughn, Irving, Future

After the Nets parted ways with Steve Nash last week, top team officials spoke to Ime Udoka within the next 24-to-48 hours and he begin preparing to potentially take over the team’s head coaching job, multiple sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. However, according to Charania, Brooklyn ultimately deviated from its plan to hire Udoka due to a handful of factors.

The Nets’ due diligence into Udoka and his suspension in Boston took longer than initially expected, and there was push-back from people inside and outside of the organization about the possible hiring, sources tell The Athletic. Charania also cites “short- and long-term question marks around the team’s ability to contend” due to Kyrie Irving‘s uncertain future as another factor.

According to Charania, the Nets have seen buy-in from the players under Jacque Vaughn, who has created “positive energy” inside a locker room that has already dealt with its share of drama this season. Additionally, while the sample size is small, Brooklyn’s defense seems to be improving under Vaughn, which is another reason why the team was comfortable removing his interim title and making him the permanent head coach, Charania adds.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • A veteran scout tells Brian Lewis of The New York Post that in the Nets’ October 29 game vs. Indiana, he counted 10 separate instances where Nash called a specific play and Irving ran something entirely different. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” the scout said. “Nash would call something, and he’d run the opposite. I’ve never seen anything like that.” A source close to the situation tells Lewis that the Nets “did whatever they wanted” under Nash, no matter what game plan he gave the team. “They were the most dysfunctional team I’ve seen (in years),” another scout said to Lewis.
  • Although Irving’s Tuesday meeting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver went well and could create a path to him rejoining the Nets, there are still some fences to mend, Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on The Rally (video link). “There is a bunch to sort through between Kyrie Irving and the Nets. There are relationships that need to be sorted out,” Charania said. “Not only between Kyrie Irving and management (and ownership), but also the locker room — he’s been away from the team for about a week now.”
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report considers whether the Nets should blow up their roster, noting that the upside to doing so is limited because they’ve already traded away several future draft picks and Irving and Ben Simmons don’t currently have any trade value.

Nets Notes: Durant, Nash, Simmons, Irving, Udoka

Nets forward Kevin Durant said on Tuesday night that he was surprised to learn of Steve Nash‘s exit from his position as Brooklyn’s head coach, as Nick Friedell of ESPN writes.

“You’re always shocked when a move like this happens,” Durant said after the Nets’ loss to Chicago. “But it’s normal in the NBA. It’s about getting ready for the game tonight. It’s a quick turn always in the league, especially during the season. You’ve got practice, games coming up, so you can’t think too much about it. It was on my mind for a little bit today.”

As Friedell notes, Nets general manager Sean Marks told reporters earlier in the day on Tuesday that he hadn’t consulted with Durant and/or Kyrie Irving before making the decision to part ways with Nash. Durant’s comments seemed to confirm that was true.

Asked why he felt like things didn’t work out with Nash in Brooklyn, Durant didn’t blame his former head coach for the team’s shortcomings, even though offseason reports indicated that he had pushed for Nash’s firing.

“We didn’t have a healthy team. We just didn’t play well,” Durant said. “And that’s what happens in the league. S–t happens. That doesn’t take away from Steve’s basketball IQ, how he teaches the game. I don’t think that takes away from anything. It just didn’t work out.”

Asked in Miami about Nash’s departure, Steve Kerr – one of the NBA’s longest-tenured head coaches – essentially agreed with Durant’s assessment, referring to Nash as “brilliant” and suggesting that the former MVP could thrive in a more “stable environment,” according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link).

“Erik’s got a (solid situation) here,” Kerr said, referring to Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. “I’ve got one in Golden State. We’re really lucky. You throw either one of us in that situation, we wouldn’t have done any better than Steve. That’s the truth.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Ian Begley of, who previously reported that the Nets had briefly engaged in “cursory” trade talks with a Western Conference team, says those discussions were about a veteran shooter, adding that Ben Simmons‘ name came up. While Begley cautions that those talks may not have advanced beyond the exploratory stage, he says Brooklyn was rumored to be “aggressive” in its pursuit of shooting.
  • Like the NBA did on Saturday, the National Basketball Players Association issued a fairly toothless statement on Tuesday, condemning antisemitism in general terms without mentioning NBPA vice president Irving by name or specifically rebuking his promotion of an antisemitic film on social media.
  • During Tuesday’s TNT broadcast, broadcaster and former NBA star Reggie Miller called out the players’ response to the Irving situation, expressing dissatisfaction that there has been silence from players who haven’t hesitated to speak out on other social justice issues, writes Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post. “The players have dropped the ball on this case when it’s been one of their own. It’s been crickets,” Miller said after lauding the players’ criticism of owners like Donald Sterling and Robert Sarver. “And it’s disappointing, because this league has been built on the shoulders of the players being advocates. Right is right and wrong is wrong.”
  • If the Nets move forward with their reported plan to hire Ime Udoka as their new head coach, it could be another landmine for the franchise, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, who notes that the full story on Udoka’s off-court conduct in Boston still hasn’t come out publicly. As Lewis relays, a league insider told NetsDaily that Udoka “repeatedly” sent inappropriate messages to women on the Celtics‘ staff.
  • Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports makes the case that the best play for the dysfunctional Nets would be to trade Durant.
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst passes along all of Sean Marks‘ noteworthy statements from his Tuesday media session, attempting to read between the lines of those comments.

Steve Nash Out As Nets’ Coach

The embattled Nets have decided to make a coaching change after their 2-5 start. Steve Nash is being replaced as head coach, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of The Athletic reporting that Nash and the team have agreed to part ways (Twitter links).

“We want to thank Steve for everything he brought to our franchise over the past two-plus seasons,” general manager Sean Marks said in a press release announcing the move. “Since becoming head coach, Steve was faced with a number of unprecedented challenges, and we are sincerely grateful for his leadership, patience and humility throughout his tenure. Personally, this was an immensely difficult decision; however, after much deliberation and evaluation of how the season has begun, we agreed that a change is necessary at this time. We wish Steve, Lilla and their family all the best in the future.”

Assistant coach Jacque Vaughn will take over as acting head coach for tonight’s game against the Bulls, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Vaughn also served as the team’s interim coach when Kenny Atkinson was fired in 2020, and he was widely considered to be the favorite to become the permanent head coach before the team opted for Nash.

The Nets are expected to consider suspended Celtics head coach Ime Udoka and former Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). He adds that Boston is willing to part with Udoka if he receives an offer. Brooklyn’s front office has “quietly done due diligence” on the circumstances that led to Udoka’s suspension, reports Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link).

[UPDATE: Nets Plan To Hire Ime Udoka As Head Coach]

Nash’s status became an issue this summer amid Kevin Durant‘s trade request. In a meeting with team owner Joe Tsai to try to resolve their differences, Durant reportedly expressed a lack of confidence in Nash and Marks and asked for them both to be dismissed.

Nash attempted to smooth things over with Durant and told reporters at media day that their relationship was solid. However, the team’s slow start led to a growing realization that some type of change had to be made, and management decided to start with the head coach.

Nash tweeted out a statement thanking Tsai and Marks for the chance to coach the team and called it “an amazing experience with many challenges that I’m incredibly grateful for.”

“It was a pleasure to work with the performance team, front office and players everyday,” Nash wrote. “I’m especially grateful to my coaching staff and video room who are a talented group with so much character and professionalism.”

Nash compiled a 94-67 record in two-plus seasons with Brooklyn, but he was only able to win one playoff series. The Nets were swept out of the playoffs by the Celtics in the first round last season.