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Saturday, October 27, 2012
How Suns get upgrade over Steve Nash

By Jose DeLeon, ESPN Stats & Info


Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Goran Dragic (left) is back in Phoenix to replace Steve Nash (right). What does Dragic bring to the table that the two-time MVP didn't?
This is the second installment of a series called “Missed or Not Missed?”. The concept is simple -- we take a look at a few Western Conference teams and determine if the players they’ve lost will be missed or if the player they brought in will make them forget that loss.

The Phoenix Suns couldn’t compete with the elite teams in the West and traded Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers. In comes Goran Dragic for a second stint and he becomes one of Phoenix’s focal points. Will the Suns be better off with a younger point guard running the show?

Pick & roll master
Few have Nash’s stellar ability to hit the roll man on pick-and-roll plays. He led the league last year with the most passes to the roll man (375) and his teammates made him look good as they ranked first in points per play (1.18) and field-goal percentage (60.3).

Dragic was one of 15 players with at least 160 such plays and is a formidable pick-and-roll player, but his teammates ranked eighth in field-goal percentage and ninth in points per play on the pick-and-roll.

Younger, fresher legs
Dragic, who is 12 years younger than Nash, is a great jump shot defender. There were 121 players last year who were involved in at least 130 plays where they defended a jump shot. Of those 121, Dragic held his opponents to the fourth-lowest field-goal percentage (30.8) and the sixth-fewest points per play (.81).

Nash, on the other hand, allowed his opponents to shoot nearly 40 percent on jump shots and allowed an average of more than a point per play.