A sendoff for the ages for Captain Canada in the valley
If this doesn’t give you goosebumps, you need to check your pulse, like immediately.
Yes, they do love their Steve Nash out in Phoenix and who can blame them and if Thursday was the last time he wore a Suns uniform, he went out with the love of the fans ringing in his ears.
Now, I can’t begin to guess what Captain Canada might be thinking about his future because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know, either.
And if you read this delightful Q and A transcript with My Man Coro of the Arizona Republic, you will get some tremendous insight into the mind of a mature, grounded, self-confident young man.
Nash is truly at a crossroads in his professional career and he will take some time to truly examine all his options and won’t ever jump willy-nilly into his next contract, as well he should.
I don’t for a second believe chasing a championship will be first and foremost in his mind – the “Winning and being competitive and being part of a good environment, those are the top” quote hammers that point home.
I will say this without equivocation: The team that lands Nash this summer will be getting one of the greatest teammates in any sport in any era and should count themselves lucky. Few and far between is the high-profile, immensely-talented athlete who cares more for his teammates and organization than Nash does.
And maybe that is what drives him, he likes environment and company more than anything, he has to appreciate the people around him – in the locker room, the front office, the stands – to get the most out of his incredible talent.
I know I have this serious Man Crush on him as a player and a guy, but I think that’s an attitude shared by many, as we saw first hand in Phoenix last night.
Really, Bryan: Three years, maybe $30 million. Take your shot. You won’t regret it. Maybe it won’t work but it’s time to make a bold move. Honest.
Oh yeah. If you want to talk Nash and playoffs and the HOTH you’re in for a treat. Seems an hour has opened up Friday at noon and we’ll be here for one of our too-infrequent chats, please stop by, it should be a gas. But if you can't, there's the mailbag and you can get in it by clicking here with your heartfelt thoughts.
And don’t forget we’re here for the final IGBT of the regular season tonight at 7. Yes, 7; they switched the game time from 8 p.m., bless their hearts.
Okay, wanna finish off the awards?
Three to go and although I do have a vote for the three all-NBA teams, I’m not about to bore you with those.
So, let’s go.
Rookie of the Year
Now, I am soooooo much a Rubio fan it’s not even funny; the kid plays with a style and a flair and a competency that you have to appreciate, right? That said, blowing out a knee mid-season kind of takes him out of the running, right? At least for first.
Which leaves us with, first to third …
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland
And I will say this: It’s good that I talk to people and watch some games because if all I had to go on were games I saw in person, there’s really no way I could vote for Kyrie Irving. In games against Toronto, he’s been entirely pedestrian but on other nights, he’s been quite good.
When the season began, this was his award to lose. He didn’t.
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota
I don’t care.
The rest of the candidates have been so underwhelming, this is almost a Second By Default. And when careers are done, it won’t have changed. This is not a great class of kids.
It’s not Kenyon Martin No. 1 and a bunch of others, but it’s not far off, I don’t think.
Kenneth Faried, Denver
If Rubio was second by default, what do you think of this pick of a guy who didn’t do a thing until the last month or so of the season. Suppose Isaiah Thomas could fit in here but I like the guy from the winning team better.
Sixth Man of the Year
There are those who see this as something of a consolation prize: “You should be starting but here’s a trinket for your trouble.” But that’s not how it is, we know rotation balance is significant and there are guys who are quite okay with coming off the bench.
And, really, this was as easy as the rookie of the year vote:
James Harden, Oklahoma City
Oh yeah, he might have the best beard in sports and that has to count for something.
Lou Williams, Philadelphia
Not too often a Sixth Man leads his team in scoring but imagine where the offensively-challenged Sixers would be without this guy.
Al Harrington, Denver
Not a big fan, personally, but on a deep Denver team he’s a solid contributor off the bench. I could probably convince myself to with Jason Terry here.
Most Improved Player
Okay. This as nebulous and confusing as it gets. Does a guy improve solely because he gets more playing time thanks to the way the roster is constructed? If that’s the case, there might be a dozen candidates.
This was, and is, a tough one; not even sure I’ve convinced myself which way I’m going to go but I’d better hurry, the league ballots have be in tomorrow at the latest.
Jeremy Lin, New York
I know, I know, I know. I would have liked a larger sample size and I would have liked more time for Lin in a more structured and disciplined offence but we didn’t have it. He is vastly improved – or simply got in the right place in the right time. If he regressions, can we can a least improved player award next year and a do-over.
Talk me out of this one folks, I’m not sure this is the name I’ll submit.
Andrew Bynum, L.A. Lakers
Maybe it was only relative good health and fewer cases of utter knuckleheadism but this guy when from questionable to being one of top two centres in the league (no, not Dwight, Marc Gasol is the other).
Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee
A very, very long time ago, I was standing on the court in Milwaukee before a game catching up with Brian James, who was working out some raw kid before game. “This kid’s going to be pretty good,” BJ said, or something to that effect. “Believe me.”
Well, that was during Ilyasova’s first stint with the Bucks and it might have taken a while, but Brian was right.
So, if I do dump Lin – and I might – do I go with Greg Monroe of the Pistons? Ryan Anderson? Paul George? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Man, I either nailed these end-of-season grades or not many of you saw them because the rip jobs were few and far between. Good for me.
One quick note because it’s already started.
Somewhere out there, some buzz was created by some totally bogus report the Raptors had offered an unseemly amount of money to – get this – Sasha Vujacic.
Didn’t happen. Won’t happen. Of this I am dead certain.