Nearing 40 years of age, point guard Steve Nash is no longer the spry, somewhat athletic dirty haired player we saw making waves as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. He’s now a clean cut, aging veteran who struggles to stay healthy.
“He might be a guy that would be better off reducing his minutes,” Vitti said of Nash, who played an average of 32.5 minutes per game last season. “Because he wasn’t himself last year, let’s see what he’s like in camp. We’re not going to beat the guy up.”
Vitti wouldn’t reveal the ideal playing time for Nash, but floated the idea about D’Antoni resting him for certain games. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has adopted a similar strategy with aging stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Vitti added he won’t outline any similar scenarios for Bryant until he returns.
“These guys do everything right and that’s why they can still play at the level they’re playing. But Mother Nature is going to play a role,” Vitti said of Bryant, 35, and Nash, 39. “If they played in Europe once or twice a week, they’d be unbelievable. But the NBA is a different animal. As you get older, the recovery time becomes a bigger issue.”
While the Lakers haven’t suggested they will rest Nash on back-to-back games like the Brooklyn Nets have fellow aging star Kevin Garnett, it might not be that far fetched to see a similar scenario occur, especially late in the season.