Jordan Clarkson came out on a pick and roll and shot an uncontested shot, moments later Clarkson splits a double team and got the “and one” foul. A bullet pass to an open big man and a coast to coast fast break play with rookie D’ Angelo Russell passing to a running Clarkson with an emphatic finish. The Lakers in the recently concluded 2015 Summer League in Las Vegas, came out an atrocious 1-4 standing. But we all know summer leagues are far from appetizers from our usual dinner buffets. The turnover prone Lakers are still young and yet very exciting to watch. And Clarkson and Russell will be joining future hall of famer, Steve Nash before the preseason starts. Nash has been mentoring Clarkson and 2014 rookie forward Julius Randle who broke his right leg on opening night last season.
Steve Nash who was traded from the Phoenix Suns to the Lakers for future draft picks; never get to showcase his wares in the purple and gold uniform. Three years suffering with a nerve damage in his back, losing his agility and speed as he plays through the pain, the end somehow closing in as the light of the tunnel slowly lost its glimmer until it finally caught up with Steve. An 18 year career winning 2 MVPs an eight time all-star and a five time leader in assists and ends with an unlikely finale. Everybody thought Nash would be the same Nash that led the Phoenix Suns to greater heights. But it wasn’t even close. No championships, no MVPs and no second coming. Life has its funny way of reminding that father time will always find a way. His career simply ended where it all started – full of promise. It was like a singer singing his masterpiece from first stanza but before it goes to the chorus, the song stopped. (We all know a singer’s winning moment will always be the chorus.) Same with Nash when everyone waited for him to stepped up and be like Steve Nash, but it never came.
Just like the usual cliché of our past, if you look back at what you’ve lost, you’ll never discover the treasure that lies ahead. Steve stopped contemplating on “What ifs” and start doing what his body can still do. And that’s being a mentor to the young rookies trying to find their way in the NBA. Others could have turn their backs and enjoy retirement, but not with Nash, this is a new challenge, something greater than a 41 year old resurrecting an NBA career with a nerve damage back.
Jordan Clarkson’s uphill climb came with Nash’s proper guidance and sheer determination. Jordan has the size, athleticism and skills built for mismatches against the usual smaller point guards. He could do pick and roll plays with ease, something Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash practice for hours when they were still playing together in Dallas. He could pick a part defenses according to what opposing teams gave him. Clarkson doesn’t have the passing vision that Nash has but what makes him dangerous is he could slash his way to the basket or could just pull up a jumper whenever he wants with smaller players. His shooting form and decision making is a bit better this coming season. Rookie D’Angelo Russell is a perfect Nash protégé. The pass-first point guard could see a play even if it still doesn’t transpire yet. Although a bit raw but it’s something that can be taught with experience.
When Steve Nash was still playing in Dallas, according to an article by Sports Illustrated, Don Nelson never understood why Nash kept turning down shots. “I’m the point guard,” Nash explained. “I want to pass.”…. somehow looking back we always knew, after his career ended. Nash will always go back to his instinct and his biggest asset – Passing.
Passing it forward as they say.
It’s just his nature.