Encore, Nash?

Don’t look now, but is Mr. Nash hunting for his third MVP? Surely the short, tat-free Canadian couldn’t be voted the Association’s best again? How many shoes is that going to sell?

After his first win in 2005, he proceeded to play and fill stat columns even better last season. The NBA hasn’t seen players that improve on MVP years. It was weird. He crosses over and spins past obstacles that other players won’t. And it’s happening again; a few games ago, he posted his career high in “double-doubles” for a season, and that’s not about caffeine and cholesterol, Tim Hortons lovers! He has been in double figures in two major categories – in his case points and assists – more than fifty times this year, higher than in either of his two MVP seasons. He’s shooting the three-pointer for an absurdly high percentage (46%), and shooting in general (53% from the floor overall) among the lead leaders in that category, who are generally big men, dunk machines like the über-athletic receiver of many of Nash’s immaculate deliveries, Amare Stoudemire.

The Suns are in a playoff push, and blew out the Jazz in Utah last night for their fifth straight win. Nash needed to score only 13, but fired 18 assists without a single turnover. (A 2-1 ratio of assists to turnovers is considered good work for an NBA guard.) Sheesh. He’s on everybody’s MVP ballot, and people might be forced to vote for him again, yea though the marketing machine would surely wish for another more poster-friendly young god of the hardwood. And on a weekend for honouring great sporting pioneers, well, Nash is no Longboat or Robinson, but he is a thoughtful and worthy bearer of the mantle of great athlete who is also a fine man.

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