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Thursday August 3, 2006 6:18 pm

Can Anyone Eclipse Steve Nash In the Assists Category?

I believe in Chris Paul

I think Steve Nash is probably definitely the king of assists at this point and will be again, but don’t laugh about Chris Paul possibly taking the assists title in his sophomore campaign.

Nash has the horses to run the floor with him and great shooters that can stop and pop, as well as great penetrators that can take it to the house. And, obviously, Nash has great court vision, but he’s lucky to have the personnel that he does - namely Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire, and the perimeter player du annee. This past season it was Raja Bell and Leandro Barbosa; the previous season, Joe Johnson and Quentin Richardson.

Who did Paul have his rookie year?

Kirk Snyder, Rasual Butler, J.R. Smith, P.J. Brown… P.J. BROWN? Okay, I’ll stop right there. I think you get the point that Paul didn’t exactly have any real consistent finishers on his team and actually had to force a lot of things to get the team going.

But who does Paul have this coming season?

He has his own horses with no less than THREE big men that are athletic and more suited to the open court fastbreaking type of game. Tyson Chandler may never meet expectations, but if he runs the floor, he’ll score.  Rookie Hilton Armstrong is athletic, long (wingspan, perverts, wingspan), fast on the break and has excellent hands. Fellow rookie, Cedric Simmons is the same type of player. So, POTENTIALLY (and I don’t really mean this literally), Paul could have THREE Amare Stoudemires!

Whoa… get off the crackpipe, right?

The reason I like Armstrong and Simmons to do well and help Paul lock down dimes, is because FINISHING ON THE BREAK IS ALL THEY DO. The both of them aren’t very polished at all offensively, but they both have the physical make up to convert on the break, as I said, they run the floor extremely well, block shots, and all the other athletic things players of this type do. I don’t think either will average double digits, but they can take it to the rack.

But, really, my main point of Paul having more opps to tag another assist or two on the boxscore is free agent signing Peja Stojakovic. We all know that Paul can penetrate like 50 Cent on his groupies, so you can expect Peja to be open like said groupies a dumb amount of times, and finish like 50 eventually will.  Cold shower to follow.

It’s a no-brainer that Nash should take the assist title because of his personnel.  Marion and Stoudemire are All-Stars in their own right.  Bell and Barbosa are deadly from the perimeter.  And it’s not just one guy or a couple of guys like when Nash was in Dallas (notice he didn’t win any assist titles there), it’s everyone on that Phoenix Suns team that can finish, either attacking the rim or hitting a J.

I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but Paul could conceivably creep up the assist charts. And remember, Nash has been in a ton of battles and we all saw him falter a bit in the playoffs… he could just naturally decline to some degree.  My head is telling me that it won’t matter if Nash does, he has too many things in place.

But, my heart is telling me that Paul is only going to get better with his new teammates.  And considering that I love this game more than I think it, I have to go with my heart.

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