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Nash's career highlighted by record offense

3/22/2015
Steve Nash orchestrated the most efficient offenses of the 2000s. Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

When Steve Nash was selected 15th overall by the Suns in a loaded 1996 NBA Draft that included Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson, few envisioned a Hall-of-Fame career for the Canadian point guard out of Santa Clara.

Yet Nash went on to produce one of the best statistical careers by a point guard in NBA history before announcing his retirement on Saturday. Here are the numbers Nash will be remembered by.

Nash in the history books

Nash finished his career ranked third on the NBA's all-time assist leaderboard with 10,335 assists. Only John Stockton and Jason Kidd have more. Nash also ended his career just one assist ahead of Mark Jackson after leading the NBA in assists six times.

Nash won back-to-back MVP awards in 2004-05 and 2005-06 with the Suns, something only LeBron James has achieved since (twice). Nash is one of 10 players to win consecutive MVP awards and the only player in NBA history under 6-foot-6 to win multiple MVPs.

There have been 11 seasons in NBA history in which a player who qualified for the field-goal percentage leaderboard shot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent on free throws. Nash has four of them and Larry Bird is the only other player with multiple 50-40-90 seasons.

In fact, Nash came one free throw away from having five straight 50-40-90 seasons between 2005-10 as he shot 89.9 percent from the free-throw line in 2006-07 when one fewer miss would have allowed him to reach the achievement. Nash still nearly averaged a 50-40-90 for his career, as he's the only player in NBA history to finish his career in the 49-40-90 club.

Nash also will retire as the NBA's all-time leader in free-throw percentage at 90.43 percent, just ahead of Mark Price, and he is the Suns' all-time leader in assists, 3-point field goals, 3-point field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and assist percentage.

The one thing missing

Perhaps the biggest knock on Nash's career is that despite all of the incredible offensive numbers he put up, he never led his team to the Finals. In fact, Derrick Rose is the only player in NBA history to win an MVP award without reaching an NBA Finals although it is perhaps unfair to compare him to Nash in that regard since he's only 26.

Karl Malone is the only player to win multiple MVPs without winning a title, and Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant and Rose join Nash on the list of MVPs without a title, although of course Rose and Durant still have time to play their way off this list.

Nash propelled teams to offensive greatness

Still, Nash's teams enjoyed plenty of team success as he reached four Western Conference Finals with the Suns and Mavericks while leading the most dynamic offenses of his time. During the nine seasons between 2001-02 and 2009-10, Nash's team led the league in offensive efficiency each year.

Since Nash signed with the Suns before the 2004-05 season, the NBA's five best single-season offensive efficiencies belong to a Nash-led Suns team. This includes every year between 2004-10 except 2005-06, a season in which Amar'e Stoudemire played just three games.

Nash's best offense was the 2009-10 Suns team that scored 112.7 points per 100 possessions, which is more than any team has scored in the last 30 seasons.

Nash's offenses with the Mavericks and Suns during the 2000's always put on a show, so perhaps it is fitting that the day after he announces his retirement those two teams will meet in Phoenix on Sunday night.