Steve Nash is one of the top candidates to be called the best Phoenix Suns player in franchise history. When the Suns drafted him in 1996, they likely wished the point guard from Santa Clara University would have a significant impact on the team. Well, he was pretty confident that he was up to the task.
"Probably a little bit like Michael Jordan at first," Nash replied when asked what type of player he would be for Phoenix during a press conference sometime after the 1996 NBA Draft.
A disappointing first tenure with the Suns
As it turned out, his play didn't resemble Jordan's at all. In his first season in a Suns uniform, the 6-foot-3 floor general averaged just 3.3 points and 2.1 assists while playing 10.5 minutes per game.
Of course, not every NBA legend has a monster rookie season. Nash is just one of the many Hall of Famers who had to develop with time while having a harsh first year in the Association.
Things didn't get any better for the guard as he spent his sophomore campaign backing up Jason Kidd and without enough opportunities to shine as a playmaker. It wasn’t until his trade to the Dallas Mavericks the following season that Nash's potential as one of the league's most formidable point guards emerged.
As a member of the Mavs organization, the Canadian hoopster averaged 14.6 points and 7.2 assists per game.
A successful return to Phoenix
As luck would have it for the Suns, a second chance with Nash appeared when he became a free agent in the 2004 offseason. Phoenix offered him a six-year, $63 million contract that the Mavs front office did not want to match.
The return to Phoenix also provided him an opportunity to become "a little bit like Michael Jordan" for the Suns.
Through eight seasons in his second tenure in Arizona, Nash transformed into one of the league's best players in the 2000s decades, winning two MVP awards.
He also led the Suns to several deep postseason runs during that stretch. Unfortunately, they couldn't get over the hump in the perpetually tough Western Conference and didn't get the chance to play in the Finals.