The Steve Nash effect

The numbers prove Steve Nash's best ability is making his teammates better. Cary Edmondson/US Presswire

When Steve Nash stepped off the floor in Sunday's preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Lakers were looking pretty good. Even without Dwight Howard, the Lakers held a 56-49 lead going into halftime. That was it for Nash, who watched the second half from the bench.

And that's when the wheels came off.

After halftime, the Warriors outscored the Lakers 61-27 the rest of the way, including an unthinkable 35-0 run over a nearly 12-minute span. Yes, shortly after Nash left the court, the Lakers were held scoreless for the equivalent of an entire NBA quarter of basketball.

Phoenix Suns fans know this feeling all too well. This is just what happens with Nash. The wheels always seem to come off when he exits the game.

It's something the Lakers might have to get used to this season: When Nash plays, everyone seems to play like All-Stars. When Nash sits (or rather, stretches on the ground), everyone seems to forget how to play basketball.

Call it the Nash Disequilibrium. Even at the age of 37 last season, Nash continued to make his teammates immensely better while on the floor. Armed with a deadly shot and piercing vision, Nash has befuddled defenses for more than a decade now. But if we take a look at his most recent campaign in 2011-12, Nash has shown no signs of slowing down.