Commentary

Steve Nash doesn't fill defensive hole

Updated: July 12, 2012, 9:07 AM ET
By Scoop Jackson | ESPN.com

Sexy.

That is the best and only word that can be used to describe Steve Nash going to the Lakers. It's like putting Scarlett Johansson in "The Avengers" franchise. The movie didn't need her, it would have still been great with someone else playing Black Widow. But damn.

[+] Enlarge Chris Paul and Steve Nash
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesSteve Nash has already faced all of the Lakers' nemeses.

Sexy. Just for the hell of it.

The problem with sexiness is that it sometimes doesn't equate to more than what's on the surface. Sexy sometimes can be substance-less. It can look like a trophy but not materialize into acquiring, generating or winning one.

Nash, the greatest point guard of his generation, will look sexy in a Lakers uniform. His acquisition is exactly what the organization needed to bring back some of the sexiness that it lost when Chris Paul wasn't allowed to go there last year yet was allowed to go to the Clippers.

The Lakers' organization took a hit with commissioner David Stern's veto. They were no longer the talk of L.A. They got out-sexied. Nash is their comeback.

But to come Jeru (clean) on this we must admit that this looks better than it might actually be because it doesn't answer the Lakers' biggest problem: defense at the point guard position.

In the playoffs, the Lakers were exposed like Janet Jackson without Jam & Lewis, Ke$ha without Auto-Tune, Michelle Williams without Beyoncé and Kelly. It was methodical. Ty Lawson (Denver) and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City) had contract re-up types of series against them.

The reason the Lakers let Derek Fisher go was to get someone (Ramon Sessions) to better defend against the point guards they had to face in the playoffs. He didn't. And neither did/could Steve Blake as the backup. And now they are thinking Nash -- never known at any time in his career as a defensive stopper or someone who displayed supreme execution in what he's been able to do defensively -- is going to change or correct that problem?

Which makes me (and anyone who is trying to analyze this trade from a perspective of basketball need) question: Do the Lakers feel Nash is so great offensively that their defensive liability at the point guard position will disappear because of his presence?

Not that Nash won't make the Lakers better (he will), but he doesn't answer their greatest need. He doesn't give them what is believed to be the remedy for their most obvious weakness nor address the issue that OKC and/or the Clippers and/or the Spurs will exploit in the playoffs over the next few years.

Yet if anyone in the NBA has the ability to make a team's weakness invalid, it is Nash. As great as some of his teams were in Phoenix and Dallas, he's never had or been on a team like this. Yes, he's turned no-names (Joe Johnson) and prodigies (Amare Stoudemire) into superstars, but he's never had two mobile 7-footers (Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol) to conduct half-court concertos with; he's never had a Kobe Bryant to ball with.

[+] EnlargeTy Lawson
Harry How/Getty ImagesThe Lakers couldn't stop Ty Lawson in the playoffs, and Steve Nash won't change that.

So as much as there is reason to not fall in love with the sexiness of Nash joining the Lakers, there is plausible reason to feel that with him on this squad, it could be the exception to the "defense wins championships" mantra that has ruled the league ever since Chuck Daly and the Bad Boys changed the way teams win titles.

Is it a reach? Yes. But it is a reach that the now "other" team in L.A. must take and must believe in.

The truth is, unless the Lakers also add someone like a Tony Allen or a Thabo Sefolosha or an Avery Bradley to the roster to complement Nash (and move Kobe to the small forward position), or unless Nash -- after spending the offseason and preseason with Lakers coach Mike Brown -- gains a spiritual appreciation for defense or has a defensive epiphany and makes a commitment to it that he's never made in his 16 years in the league (or looking even further into the future, the team is in position to draft Ohio State's Aaron Craft in 2013), the Lakers remain with a void unfilled.

And in the NBA, when a team is vying for the crown -- as sexy as it may be -- a void unfilled is still a problem.

Scoop Jackson | email

ESPN.com columnist