Did Shaq Vs. Nash hurt Phoenix’s chemistry?
Apparently, there was off-court tension, too. Reports indicate O’Neal, after hearing Nash discuss plans for a reality show where he battled other athletes, stole the premise from his point guard. Shaq Vs could have been Nash Vs. Word is Nash was so miffed he called his lawyer and negotiated credit along with a producer’s fee …
Breaking NBA news mixed with analysis …
Their News: “There’s an interesting back story here, one that explains in part some of the fractured relationships that defined the Suns’ struggles last season.
O’Neal stole Nash’s idea.
Shortly after O’Neal was traded to the Suns in February 2008, Nash mentioned to his new teammates a reality show he was pursuing. It would feature the Suns point guard taking on professional athletes in their own sport.
The topic didn’t come up again until early in the 2008-09 season, when O’Neal boarded the Suns bus and told the team he would be starring in a new reality show in which he would be taking on, you got it, professional athletes in their own sport.” (The Arizona Republic, Paola Bovin)
My Gut Reaction: Chemistry is a finicky, delicate thing.
Last year, the Phoenix Suns, even with Shaquille O’Neal for a full season, lacked the cohesion and balance to make the playoffs. There were obstacles: Amare Stoudemire’s injuries, Steve Nash’s increasing age, and coming together after a mid-season swap for starter Jason Richardson.
The central issue was identity. Nash, the two-time MVP and face of the franchise, wanted to return to the run-and-gun ways of Seven Seconds to Shoot, especially after Terry Porter was replaced by long-time assistant Alvin Gentry on the sideline.
O’Neal, even after losing significant weight, sometimes struggled to fit with the up-and-down Suns. To be fair, the gregarious post often buried opponents like that February clash against the Toronto Raptors, when he dropped a cool 45 points on the ‘Ru-Paul of big men’ Chris Bosh.
Of course, ‘The Big Cactus’ experiment ended in July. For a number of reasons, the Suns dealt O’Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And the subtle Nash versus O’Neal clash ended with fast-break basketball winning over slower, half-court hoops.
Or so we thought …
Apparently, there was off-court tension, too. Reports indicate O’Neal, after hearing Nash discuss plans for a reality show where he battled other athletes, stole the premise from his point guard. Shaq Vs could have been Nash Vs. Word is Nash was so miffed he called his lawyer and negotiated credit along with a producer’s fee.
Stealing reality shows? Calling lawyers? Negotiating producer’s fees?
This off-court tiff must have influenced the on-court product. Sure, Nash and O’Neal made nice publicly during the season and when the story broke yesterday the Canadian mentioned ‘collaborating’ with his former teammate. If player’s don’t trust each other off-court, how do they trust each other on-court?
Last year, the Suns had obvious chemistry issues. And Shaq vs. Nash likely didn’t help.
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