The Brooklyn Nets have major question marks around their head coach Steve Nash. Fans are calling for the Nets to move on from the former two-time MVP turned head coach. Analysts object to the offensive creativity from the third-year head coach. However, despite concerns, the plan is to keep Nash at the helm for Brooklyn.
The reality is that the Nets only have a small sample size of Nash as the coach of a healthy team in Brooklyn. He has faced injuries to Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons, Joe Harris, and others. He also dealt with Kyrie Irving being unable to play home games with the vaccine mandate in New York City. Nash finished sixth in NBA Coach of the Year voting in his second season with the Nets. So perhaps the recent criticism is recency bias and due to the Nets not living up to expectations, but with the injury and vaccine hand he was dealt, how could he?
One reason that Nash avoids the hot seat is because he has the backing of his star players, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Especially Durant. On a recent episode of Netflix’s ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman,’ Durant commented about what makes a good coach on the NBA level.
Kevin Durant on the role of a Head Coach
In a candid conversation with the twelve-time Emmy Award winner, Durant answered Letterman’s question about if he likes his coaches. “I’ve never had a problem with any of my coaches,” Durant replied.
Letterman then went through the levels that Durant has had coaches from rec leagues to the NBA and complimented him on his ability to get along with coaches in a wide variety of situations. Durant then conceded, saying that he’s had “some run-ins with coaches.” But those run-ins were smaller decision-making “disagreements.”
Letterman’s next question was, “What does a coach do at the NBA level?”
“He manages personalities. I think that’s the biggest thing,” Durant said.
“We all know how to play. We all know all the terminology. We know every single scheme that can be. … Managing personalities, I think that’s their biggest job,” he continued.
Surely, the importance of personality management has been an ongoing trend among coaches. Durant played for one of the best player-coaches in Golden State with Steve Kerr. Kerr is also the coach that Steve Nash got his coaching start as a member of the Warriors staff before being hired by the Nets.
Kyrie Irving on Coaching
Earlier this year, on an episode of Kevin Durant’s podcast ‘The ETCs with Kevin Durant,’ Kyrie Irving talked about the Nets coach Steve Nash saying, I was the first … well, he said I was the first person to call him Coach Nash, but I call him Steve. Steve is great, and I have a relationship with him that’s going to build over time, bro.”
He continued and talked about how Nash and his role in Brooklyn could change coaching.
“I think it’s also going to change the way we see coaches. I don’t really see us having a head coach. You know what I mean? KD could be a head coach. I could be a head coach.”
Based on these comments, it is safe to assume that Irving agrees with Durant on the biggest role of a head coach being managing personalities. Especially when it comes to managing stars to the caliber of Durant and Irving. One good thing about Nash, he has done it at the highest level. He is one of those coaches that his players know the type of player he was and that gives an added respectability to the eight-time All-Star. Next year should be the first year he has had all of his players to work with, lets see how Nash does at managing one of the best rosters in the NBA.