Steve Nash appeared and started in 50 games in 2012-13, missing 24 games due to a lower leg fracture and the last eight of the regular season because of hamstring/hip/back issues. Nash averaged 12.7 points and 6.7 assists, and narrowly missed his fifth 50/40/90 season (49.7 percent field goals, 43.8 percent on three-pointers, 92.2 percent free throws).
Nash played the first two postseason games, averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 assists in 30 minutes per contest, before missing the final two with the same back/hip/hamstring issues that kept him out at the end of the regular season.
Below is a summary of his exit interview:
- Nash opened by expressing his disappointment with the tough season: “It’s definitely been the most frustrating year of my career.” Obviously the injuries were difficult, let alone the failure to meet expectations. Regardless of the reasons why – and there were plenty – that’s going to result in disappointment.
- On recovering from his injuries this offseason, starting with the nerve issues he’s battled in his back/hip/hamstring: “I always work hard. I’m definitely going to prepare better than I ever have to make next year (different). (I have) no concerns. No word (from the) medical staff for long-term issues or next season being in jeopardy. There’s still a lot of work to do to get right.” Nash is hoping that he’ll be back to 100 percent in the next month or so.
- Nash on Dwight Howard, who is an unrestricted free agent: “I’m very hopeful that Dwight will be back. I think this is the place for him. I’m hopeful he sees it that way.”
- On playing for the Los Angeles Lakers: “It was an amazing experience for me to play for this franchise … that’s the one thing that burns me so much right now. I wanted to have a huge impact on the team and really make this an incredible year, and experience for the fans, the players and everyone involved … I just hope next year we can repay everyone for their loyalty and enthusiasm.”
- On how a coaching change, injuries derailed things: “It feels like we never even got started … we kept fighting, and played really good basketball for the last couple of months.”
- Nash isn’t sure what the roster will look like next season, saying changes are inevitable in the NBA, but he likes a lot of what is in place if healthy: “I think the core pieces with the disappointment of this season could (help us) form something special. It’s not a perfect fit, but we have great players that can find a way to make this work.” L.A. almost never had a healthy, cohesive team throughout the season.
- Nash downplayed chemistry issues with the team that may have plagued the roster early in the season. He said that losing brings out a certain degree of difficulty for any team, but that the Lakers definitely figured things out as the season wore on. “In the big picture I think relationships were formed and kept … I think it’s the only reason we didn’t (putter out).” The team played good basketball in the final three months of the season even while beat up.
- Nash discussed the difficulty of having established veterans who have all played different styles in the past, and how difficult that can be for a head coach: “We have a lot of guys who have had great careers, great success that have done it in their way. But when you come together you can’t do it in four or five different ways. I think that was really difficult for everyone, for the players, and particularly for the coach. We can make a long list of what (coach) Mike (D’Antoni) faced this year: coming in late, the craziest injury situation I’ve ever seen, guys playing when they’re not themselves. It’s hard to find an identity when guys aren’t what they’re going to be in a week, or out of the line up in a week. I thought he handled it well. He competed, he worked every day, he was passionate about it.”
- What’s most important for Nash moving forward for next season? “For me, I just want to get in great shape … so that nothing is holding me back for next season. For the team, we’ll see.” Nash went on to explain that further, but basically, it’s tough to really plan too much until we see who is on the roster for next season.
Nash on Jason Collins: “I think it’s great that Jason is strong enough to come out. I think he’s going to make a huge impact on a lot of people, most importantly on a lot of young people … I’ve thought for a while now that it’s not going to be a big issue. I don’t think it’s fair for Jason to think it’s going to be a walk in the park, but at the same time, this is a really important issue and time that somebody has finally taken a leadership role in this respect.”