Steve Nash to Nets, Failure or Fortune?

by Sam Modur

How will Steve Nash help the Brooklyn Nets

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On September 1, former NBA player, eight-time NBA all-star, and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash decided to accept a job as head coach for the Brooklyn Nets. In his first professional coaching job, Steve Nash took over an “untested” Nets team where their new stars, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, have not played a game together. Before the season, the expectations were high for the team; now that Steve Nash is the head coach, many believe that the Nets will be title contenders in the 2020-2021 NBA season. There are potential risks and rewards to the addition of Steve Nash as head coach to the Brooklyn Nets. For example, Nash could fall into the same category as former point guards turned coaches Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd, whose basketball IQ on the court did not translate to their coaching skills. However, if Steve Nash can effectively lead his team alongside superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets could be favorites to win the NBA championship game.

Steve Nash’s “feel for the game” was one of the driving forces in his dominance on the court. During Steve Nash’s career, many people regarded him as the smartest point guard in basketball. His abilities to penetrate defenses and facilitate offense were unmatched. His skills weren’t reflected through his stats—he only averaged about 18 PPG during his MVP seasons—but through his impact on the court and his ability to win games using his basketball IQ. Bringing this IQ to the Nets could potentially make them the best team in the Eastern Conference or even the best team in the league. Given Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will be healthy by the start of the next season, the Nets should be a team to watch out for next season.

However, along with the rewards, there are many risks as well. For instance, Steve Nash’s high IQ as a former player may not transfer to his coaching abilities like former coach and player, who Kidd, like Nash, was a point guard known to have a high basketball IQ. His ability to facilitate an NBA offense led his team, the New Jersey Nets at the time, to the NBA Finals for two consecutive years. Due to his reputation, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to hire Jason Kidd as head coach in 2014. However, Kidd’s hiring turned out to be a bad decision. Jason Kidd failed to build a successful team around his star player, Giannis Antetokounpo, during his tenure with the Bucks; as a result, he was fired. Kidd was a short-tempered individual who couldn’t control the Bucks into a team he wanted. Nash may find himself in a similar situation with the Nets, especially if he has to manage the large egos of superstars such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, given that Nash has a reputation as a calm individual with good character, he likely will foster good team chemistry among his team. While the Nets have the potential to be a title contender, due to Nash’s lack of coaching experience, they could be a thorough disappointment.