The Brooklyn Nets (2-5) and head coach Steve Nash have mutually parted ways. The decision was made just hours before the team was set to host the Chicago Bulls (3-4). The decision to get rid of Nash didn’t come down to the rough start to the 2022-2023 NBA Season; it all started with the failure to even come close to an NBA Championship under stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The dysfunction involving the Nets came down to the fact that Nash was nothing more than a yes-man to Durant.
Why Steve Nash’s Departure Can Help the Brooklyn Nets
The Nets Need a Leader on the Sidelines
Nash was efficient in developing his players, but it was clear his journey to becoming a head coach was rushed. He provided little to no play schemes and adjustments to his players during the games. Most of his schemes involved Durant and Irving playing hero ball, but Nash failed to secure the big three with Durant, Irving, and James Harden. He also failed to get other former All-Stars like LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin fully inserted into schemes and playing consistently.
The Nets are in a critical time where they must take advantage of the talented roster they currently possess. Nash’s departure this early into the season could indicate that management knows time is critical to win now.
Irving remains on the team and has not been suspended for his off-the-court statements. Irving and Durant are currently averaging over 30 points per game this season and have played all seven games. The Nets have an overall record of 2-5 to show for it. Brooklyn averages 113.9 points per game, which is 18th in the league. The troubles on the defensive end of the court are bringing the Nets down. They allow an average of 120.3 points per game, the 28th in the league. The Nets have shown no urgency, mostly on defense, which is a failure on Nash.
The Nets have made assistant coach Jacque Vaughn the interim head coach. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets are expected to look at suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka and former Utah Jazz head coach Quin Synder to be their next head coach. The fact that the Nets’ management is looking into more aggressive and defensive-minded coaches means they want to be more established and alert on both ends of the court.
Moving on From Nash Could Open More Opportunities for Other Players
One big reason for Brooklyn’s failure to win in key moments was the lack of support from role players. It wasn’t that the Nets didn’t possess reliable players; the system was built entirely around the two-star players. Brooklyn has a young future star in center Nic Claxton, a six-man of the year candidate in Joe Harris, and a reliable role player in Seth Curry.
In the 116-109 win over the Indiana Pacers, Claxton and Harris combined for 26 points shooting 12-17 in field goals. The bench was a combined -29 in the win over the Pacers.
In the 125-116 home loss to the Pacers two days earlier, Claxton and Harris had only combined for 13 field goals, making eight and combining for 19 points. Seth Curry shot 0-for-5 from the three-point arc, as he didn’t have great scoring opportunities. The bench overall was -13 in the entire game.
The new coaching staff, whether it is Vaughn or Udoka, needs to establish their role players to give Durant and Irving some help and set up better scoring opportunities. Durant and Irving are playing great in ISO-ball. That scheme can only be effective for a limited time throughout an 82-game regular season.