Although the Brooklyn Nets were able to mend fences with their superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and convince them to return for the 2022-23 season, the saga is far from finished. The pressure is on this star-studded Eastern Conference contender to make some real noise in the NBA. That goes for everyone top to bottom, including Nets head coach Steve Nash, who has struggled to find his footing during his tenure.
With all of their core players set to be available for their season opener, the expectation will be for the Nets to make a significant splash to start the season. One league source told Landon Buford that if the Nets don’t get off to a hot start, Nash could get fired.
If that does happen, Brooklyn is being urged by ESPN NBA analyst Jay Williams to replace Nash with former All-Star guard & ex-Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson.
“I still do not think that Steve Nash is the answer. I do not think that. I think Mark Jackson could be the answer,” Williams said on the Keyshawn, JWill, & Max Show on August 24.
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Williams: Nash on ‘Hot, Hot, Hot, Seat’
The Nets had a disappointing ending to the 2022 season. Despite having KD and Kyrie healthy and available for their first-round clash with their division rival Boston Celtics, the Nets struggled mightily in the first round as they could not register a win. The Celtics won the series handily in a 4-0 sweep.
With Brooklyn returning with a healthy roster to start the season, the pressure is on for the Nets to make a vast improvement in 2023. Williams believes that Nash is officially on the hot seat.
“Steve Nash is on the hot, hot, hot seat. Don’t sit down as a matter of fact,” Williams added.
“It was only a week and a half ago, two weeks ago, that Kevin Durant gave Joe Tsai an ultimatum by saying, ‘Hey, look I’ll come back if Steve Nash and Sean Marks are not here’, but now Steve Nash being there. What position does that put him in? And the accountability that you need Steve Nash to hold?”
Nash Has Had Tough Road in First Coaching Gig
Nash has had to deal with significant turbulence since being hired as the Nets’ head coach. Less than a month into his first year during the 2020-21 season, the front office blew up the roster in the blockbuster trade that brought James Harden to Brooklyn from the Houston Rockets, leaving the Nets roster pencil thin outside of their All-Star trio.
In the 2021 playoffs, injuries to Kyrie and Harden in their second-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks affected their chances of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. They were eliminated by the eventual NBA champions in seven games.
To start last season, Brooklyn was again at a disadvantage when New York City mandated the COVID-19 vaccination for New York City athletes. Kyrie refused to get the vaccine, which led to him only playing 29 games. In addition, Harden demanded a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers at the deadline, which again left the roster dismantled.
Coming into the 2022 playoffs the Nets were again hobbled. Sharpshooter Seth Curry was dealing with an ankle injury which he was able to play on in limited minutes. Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris wasn’t that lucky, as his ankle injury held him out for most of last season. Also listed on the injury report was Nets All-Star forward Ben Simmons, who was sidelined with a herniated disc.
Nash has dealt with a lot in his first head coaching gig. It could be one of the main reasons the front office has afforded him so much grace.