Steve Nash's diminishing role

Steve Nash isn't handling the ball much, a troubling trend for a 38-year-old point guard. Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

Editor's note: This is Insider's weekly series that identifies and analyzes tendencies or trends exhibited by five players.

Rather than sit back contentedly and give it another go this season with the crumbling nucleus of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, the Los Angeles Lakers took an aggressive approach over the summer and made one big splash after another.

July's sign-and-trade with Phoenix to bring in Steve Nash was viewed fairly unanimously as a great haul by the Lakers. As you know, they weren't done there.

The blockbuster deal a month later that replaced the unhappy Bynum with Dwight Howard was the final piece to a team quickly pegged as the favorite to take home the 2013 NBA championship.

Since then, so much has unraveled with the Lakers, from Nash's broken leg, to the highly publicized coaching change, to Pau Gasol's ailing knees and constant trade rumors, to Dwight Howard's antics and torn labrum, to Jordan Hill's serious hip injury (which was reported to be season-ending).

In this week's Trend Watch, we focus our attention on Nash in particular and take a look at his role on this Lakers team. Is he the same player he's been over the past decade? And how is his role affected by those around him?

We'll also highlight Nikola Vucevic's emergence in Orlando, Thomas Robinson's struggles near the rim, Luol Deng's incredible workload, and the sudden decline in Al Horford's free throw shooting.

On to the trends...

Steve Nash | PG | Los Angeles Lakers

Trend: Dwindling offensive role and assist rate