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Lakers' Steve Nash says he can adjust for 'incredible opportunity'

He says that at age 38 he is 'getting up there,' but he will do his best to learn new things quickly and make the transition to fulfilling the role of decision-maker on the court for the Lakers.

October 02, 2012|By Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
  • Steve Nash poses for photos during Lakers' media day.
Steve Nash poses for photos during Lakers' media day. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Steve Nash hopes he isn't too old for this.

At 38, the most aged Laker knows the clock is already ticking on his title chances with his new team.

"I'm getting up there," Nash said Monday during the Lakers' media day, "but I'm not going to be in the geriatric ward before the All-Star break, so I think we have time."

Nash could use every spare moment with so many adjustments to make.

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There's the new Princeton offense, the unfamiliar teammates and a purple and gold jersey that could make the former Phoenix Suns point guard do a double take every time he looks down.

"The players, the roster, the colors — everything is going to be different," Nash said, "so I'm going to have to adjust and just try to put myself in the best position to be healthy and to be able to play at a high level so the adjustment isn't that difficult."

Having avoided significant injuries in recent seasons, Nash said he was feeling "as good as I've ever felt. So we'll see if that's the truth or Father Time is catching up with me."

Envisioning himself as a Laker has been less difficult as the weeks have passed since he signed with his longtime Pacific Division rival in July, Nash said.

How so? Nash literally counted the ways.

"Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard," Nash said, extending the fingers on one hand. "I mean, it's Southern California. It kind of ticks all the boxes. It's not an awful situation."

You can't bounce a ball at the Lakers' training facility these days without hitting a superstar, part of the reason Nash was willing to switch teams 16 seasons and 9,916 assists into his career. Having so many prolific scoring options at his fingertips has given Nash what he called "the best chance I've ever had" to win a championship.

"This is an incredible opportunity, a great roster," Nash said. "It's all there for us. We just have to find a way to make it work."

It should help that Nash is widely considered one of the most heady players in the game. Lakers Coach Mike Brown said the two-time most valuable player's decision-making will be featured every time Nash brings the ball down the court.

"It will be up to him to determine whether he wants to play pick and roll or if he wants to transition us into some Princeton looks or some looks that we had last year by a simple pass, by a simple cut, by a simple hand signal," Brown said. "So he has the keys to drive the engine."

Not that there won't be adjustments.

"It's not going to be like Phoenix where four out of the five times down the court we're running a pick and roll," Nash said. "We have a lot of options and a lot of players here to do a lot of different things. We're all going to have to adjust and find a way to make each other better."

How long might that take?

"I plan on this team being a terrific team and a contender by the end of this season, but I'm not putting any deadlines on anything," Nash said. "I would have stopped playing a long time ago if I did that."

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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