Phoenix Suns

Heat Check: Did Steve Nash deserve his second MVP?

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Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant (NBA Getty Images)

Even though Steve Nash walked away with his second MVP award in 2006, did he deserve it?

Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): It's easy to forget why Nash was named MVP that season. The Suns won fewer games compared to 2004-05, but were also without Amar'e Stoudemire - their starting power forward who was coming off of his first All-Star appearance with averages of 26.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game - for basically the entire year.

Not only did Nash respond by scoring a career-best 18.8 points per game in Stoudemire's absence, he had one of his most efficient seasons shooting the ball while leading the league with 10.5 assists per game. Nash helped six of his teammates average career-highs in scoring and led the Suns to 54 wins, giving them the fourth-best record in the NBA.

All of this is to say that I'm not mad about it. LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant were all awesome that season and had a strong case to win MVP, but Nash was at the top of his game on one of the best teams in the league. Let's not act like we wasn't deserving.

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): As the best player on a 54-win team missing an All-Star, Steve Nash was amazing that year, but no one was more valuable to a team as Kobe Bryant was to the Lakers in 2005-06. Kobe carried that team to 45 wins by averaging a career-high 35.4 points per game while playing the fifth-most total minutes in the league.

Nash was able to keep the Suns in championship contention, but without him, that roster would have still contended for a playoff spot. The 2005-06 Lakers were without question a bottom-five lottery team without Kobe, and he managed to lead them to a seven-game series with Nash and company in the first round of the playoffs.

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Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): In hindsight, Nash's second MVP can at least be partially attributed to the fact that he was simply better than he was during his first MVP campaign in 2004-05. With Boris Diaw essentially taking Stoudemire's spot in the starting lineup, Nash still led the league in assists while scoring and shooting better than ever before. So if he was better across the board, down an All-Star running mate and finished second in the West, surely it means he deserved to win again, right?

Wrong.

While I don't have an issue with Nash's first MVP season, it certainly qualified as a "narrative" campaign: the best player on a surprising team that serves as somewhat of a feel-good story. There was no need to double down, especially in a year in which Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James all delivered MVP-worthy seasons. I absolutely love Nash, but are we even 100% sure that he was a better MVP candidate than his own teammate, Shawn Marion, who finished tied for 10th in voting with averages of 21.8 PPG and 11.8 RPG, not to mention a banner year defensively? Give me Nowitzki or Bryant.

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): Dirk and LeBron were both incredible that season and yeah, Kobe averaged 35 points per game, but Steve Nash was absolutely deserving of this MVP.

The Phoenix Suns lost Amar'e Stoudemire, their all-star power forward, three games into the season and Nash was still able to lead them to 50-plus wins and the two seed in the Western Conference. He put up a career-high 18.8 points per game, a career-high 4.2 rebounds per game AND dished out a league-best 10.5 assists per game. This was also his first of four 50-40-90 seasons, shooting an insane 51.2% from the field, 43.9% from three and an NBA-best 92.1% from the free throw line.

You could make the case for any of the three other guys mentioned above, but you'd have a hard time convincing me that Nash was not the most valuable to his team that season. This was a career-defining year for him, solidifying himself as one of the best playmakers in NBA history.

Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): There's no doubt that Steve Nash deserved the MVP in 2006. He carried the Suns without their biggest scoring punch Amar'e Stoudemire, who only played three games that year. Nash had his career-high in scoring average at 18.8 points, led the league in assists at 10.5 and posted 43 double-doubles in the process.

When everyone expected him and the Suns to fall back to the pack, he elevated his play not only earning his second consecutive MVP but also proving the year before was no fluke.

Nash didn't just join an exclusive list of back-to-back MVP winners. He cemented his trip to the Naismith Hall of Fame.

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