Canadian-born Steve Nash, the West Coast Conference Player of the Year at Santa Clara in 1995 and 1996, was a first-round draft pick of the Phoenix Suns. He saw limited action as a rookie but played well in his second pro season, even though he had to compete with stars like Jason Kidd and Kevin Johnson for playing time. With Kidd, an All-Star, established as their point guard for years to come, the Suns traded Nash to Dallas on June 25, 1998 and he stepped in as the Mavericks’ starting point guard, leading the team in assists in 1998-99. Nash finished his career as Santa Clara’s all-time leader in assists (510) despite playing his first two seasons primarily at shooting guard, and is third all-time at Santa Clara in points (1,689). He finished first in three-point field goals made and attempted and second in three-point field goal percentage at Santa Clara. Nash is the best free throw shooter in school history at .861, including .894 as a senior. A standout on the Canadian National Team, he played at the World Championships held in Toronto in 1994, and in the Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament in San Juan in 1999.
| PLAYER PROFILE|
Selected by the Phoenix Suns in the first round (15th pick overall) of the 1996 NBA Draft. Traded by the Suns to the Dallas Mavericks for Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells the draft rights to Pat Garrity and a first round draft choice in 1999 on 6/25/98.The subject of the book “Long Shot: Steve Nash’s Journey to the NBA,” by Jeff Rudd Excelled at lacrosse, soccer and hockey as a child His father, John, and his brother, Martin, both played professional soccer in England.
The 15th player chosen in the 1996 NBA Draft, Nash averaged just 3.3 points and 2.1 assists in 10.5 minutes as a rookie, playing behind an established star, Johnson, and a star on the rise, Kidd. He faced the same logjam in 1997-98 but couldn’t be completely held back, averaging 9.1 points and 3.4 assists in 21.9 minutes per game. By the end of his second season he was one of the players most often mentioned in trade talks, since it was clear that he could be a starting point guard but was unlikely to get that chance in Phoenix, with Kidd on the roster. Dallas put together the package that landed him shortly after the 1998 NBA Draft, sending Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells, 1998 first-round draft pick Pat Garrity and a first-round draft choice in 1999 to the Suns. Nash immediately became Dallas’ starting point guard, averaging a team-high 5.5 assists per game in 1998-99.
Recorded a season and game-high 22 points (5-10 3FG) and 4 assists in a 104-90 victory over the Sacramento Kings on 3/20/99Led the Suns in 1997-98, and ranked 13th in the NBA, in three-point percentage (.415)Scored 10 points and matched his career-high with 12 assists against over the Houston Rockets on 4/19/98Registered a career-high 24 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists against the Denver Nuggets on 4/15/98Finished third, with Michele Timms of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, in the inaugural Nestle Crunch All-Star 2ball during All-Star SaturdayParticipated in the Schick Rookie Game during the 1997 NBA All-Star Weekend in ClevelandPosted rookie season-highs of 17 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds, in his first career NBA start and his British Columbia homecoming, against the Vancouver Grizzlies on 11/14/96Has appeared in 8 career NBA Playoff games, averaging 3.4 ppg in 8.3 mpgNamed West Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1995 and 1996