LOS ANGELES – Steve Nash described his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers with similar dismal terms that Dwight Howard used before his departure to the Houston Rockets via free agency.
"Nothing broke our way."
"Bad luck with injuries."
"Never really found our chemistry."
The difference is Nash is still a Laker with no regrets about moving to Los Angeles, saying he'd do it "10 times out of 10."
A year ago, Nash and Howard joined Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol with the Lakers in what was expected to be a power team that could challenge the reigning champion Miami Heat for a title. Reality rudely produced one of the most disappointing seasons in Lakers history.
Nash played in only 50 games, the lowest amount in his career in a non-lockout season, due primarily to a broken leg and hip injury that also led to nerve issues in his leg. He averaged 12.7 points and just 6.7 assists, his lowest assist output since the 1999-2000 season. The 17-year NBA veteran needed an epidural to play in the postseason, a move he says wasn't correct in hindsight.
"I probably shouldn't have played in the playoffs," Nash said. "I was limping around. But we were so decimated [by injuries] and I was just trying to help. We had long breaks and I just wanted to give it a shot. But I couldn't even sprint."
Howard had said he built a solid friendship with Nash last season. Nash was among the Lakers contingent that tried to convince Howard to re-sign. Among the talking points, Nash tried to sell Howard that he should take into account the Lakers' long list of injury problems last season – including an Achilles injury to Kobe Bryant.
Deep down, Nash thought the efforts would fall short.
"I never really felt like he was that happy here or wanted to be here," Nash said.
Nash, on the other hand, is very much happy to still be a Laker. Time will tell if the Lakers get the expected return from the former two-time Most Valuable Player who turns 40 in February. Coach Mike D'Antoni believes Nash will be among the elite point guards this season.
"I don't know if he is the same guy when he was at 30," D'Antoni said. "There shouldn't be much of a drop. He's still going to be one of the best point guards in the league … I don't think anyone knows when Father Time will grab you."