Tuesday afternoon, the Brooklyn Nets decided to part ways with head coach Steve Nash, after two years with the team. On paper, this looks like a good move. The Nets have had an abysmal 2-6 start, and change was needed. Brooklyn is now linked to and expected to hire former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, who was recently at the forefront of a scandal involving his relationship with a staff member.
In short, Steve Nash should have never been an NBA coach in the first place. Nash is NOT built for a head coaching job. Many NBA head coaches have worked their way up and proven to the organization that they can lead. Nash threw himself into that position without any experience coaching a basketball team. Sure, Nash is a hall-of-fame point guard, but there is an enormous difference between leading an entire roster and staff, and merely calling out plays on offense.
Bashing Steve Nash doesn’t mean that I don’t love him as a former player and person, because he was and is phenomenal in those aspects; he just wasn’t fit for this position. But as much as we can throw his name around, it doesn’t change the Nets’ situation.
65% of team success in the NBA, to me, falls on the players alone. The talent, chemistry, and mental toughness of guys teams bring in will make up the majority of the performance. The other 35% is coaching. Scouting, defensive and offensive schemes, etc. can push an organization over the top, but it isn’t the majority. This will be evident in the Nets 2022-23 season and beyond. Nothing will change in Brooklyn, because the truth is that this roster is so dysfunctional, that they may not even make the playoffs.
Kevin Durant, who openly complained about Nash, requested a trade that put the NBA world on hold for months, then decided to scrap it all and play, is a superstar with a lot of baggage. Kyrie Irving, who sat out almost an entire season to protest COVID-19 vaccinations and recently made comments that many call antisemitic, is a superstar with a lot of baggage. Ben Simmons, who got himself traded from the Philadelphia 76ers and sat out an entire season, can be great, but he comes with a lot of baggage. Ime Udoka is a great coach that the Nets want to bring in, but he comes with a lot of baggage, in the form of a scandal that cost him his job in Boston. Noticing a trend here?
These stars look good on paper, but it’s what you get with them that will forever keep the Nets from winning a championship. What happens off of the court matters, and the NBA is all about the right fit. The fact of the matter is that Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons can’t play on the same team because they all carry something with them that organizations can’t handle in large doses: drama.
The best option for the Nets right now is to look at a potential rebuild, because the Nets’ best chances of winning a championship came during the 2021 NBA Playoffs, when they had KD, Kyrie, James Harden, Blake Griffin, and more. It’s been downhill from there.
In 2019, Brooklyn had a fresh young core in D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, and Caris LeVert, that actually competed in the playoffs. Now, all four of those players are on teams with better records than the Nets. If the Nets want to get back on track, they should look to get massive hauls for their stars and start over.