The NBA playoffs have a unique ability to magnify teams’ biggest weaknesses. For the Brooklyn Nets, many of their issues were out of their control with injuries to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving not being able to play home games, all of the rumors around James Harden, and of course, the Ben Simmons injury. However, in their first round series against the Boston Celtics, the team is proving to have other glaring weaknesses.
First its depth. The Nets waived James Johnson to sign Kessler Edwards at the end of the regular season and, due to that, have no experienced forwards making it in their rotation. Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge remain glued to the Brooklyn bench and haven’t seen postseason playing time. Their rotation off the bench primarily has featured guards and Nic Claxton at the center position. The rotation may be part of Brooklyn’s second glaring weakness, and that is coaching. Steve Nash has had some outright questionable decisions this postseason.
What Does Steve Nash Do?
After going down 0-2 in their first round series, a microscope is over the coaching or lack thereof from Head Coach Steve Nash. On the April 21 episode of First Things First on FS1, Nick Wright and Chris Broussard discussed whether or not Nash should be on the coaching hot seat in Brooklyn.
“A bleep ton. That’s the specific amount. A bleep ton,” Nick Wright said when asked how much of the blame Nash should be getting. “I have been adamant that I think he is running Kevin Durant into the ground. Since Kevin Durant has been playing forty minutes per game since March 1st, and KD seems to be wearing down.”
Wright went on to also issue criticism to Nets General Manager Sean Marks for not having any forwards on the roster to rotate with Durant. He also noted that Nash is not in charge of the defense and that he was put in place to design an offense for Brooklyn.
“He’s there to help design an offense. The question is this, do the Nets run an offense?” Wright continued. “If someone was like ‘What offense do the Nets run?’ what would anybody say?… Can you please draw up one easy look for Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving? It shouldn’t be that hard. My question is, what does Steve Nash do?”
Should Steve Nash Be on the Hot Seat?
Chris Broussard agreed with Wright’s concerns about the lack of forwards on the team, the team not playing together, and Kyrie Irving not wanting to be coached, which have set a negative tone for the Nets. He also agreed with Wright’s comments about the lack of creativity in the Nets offense.
“Nick, you said what offense do they run? They run Iso, and pick and roll, and drive and kick. That’s it. It’s a simplistic offense,” Broussard said. “That is why it has been simple for people to come in and play relatively effective because it is so simplistic. And honestly, that is how KD and Kyrie want it.”
While being simplistic is the offense that Brooklyn’s duo wants to play in, Wright argued that there is a level of coaching that is not being met. He points to the Payton Pritchard minutes in game two and Nash not choosing to attack the known small and poor defender as poor coaching and something more people should be calling out.
“This is all because people like him (Nash,)” Wright said. “I understand that this might make me a bad guy, but we can’t just have these sacred cows… but the fact that he got hired to coach the most skilled duo in NBA history, and they are falling on their faces, but you can’t criticize him? He is being paid $10 million a year to coach a basketball team. What do you want? I would like some coaching if I was a Nets fan.”
The criticism is earned, and Nash was supposed to bring a level of expertise offensively to Brooklyn to contend for titles with these two stars, and he isn’t setting them up for success. Will there be adjustments as the postseason rounds out? We will see, but with each loss, Nash should expect that seat to only continue getting hotter.