Nets hand coaching reins to Steve Nash

Hall of Famer Steve Nash is the Brooklyn Nets’ new head coach.

Nash takes over as the new bench boss for a team that with big ambitions in the Kevin Durant era, and the announcement last week of his hiring came as a big surprise around the league.

After all, the 46-year-old Nash has never coached at the college or pro level. However, he served as general manager of Team Canada from 2012-19.

But he brings a fresh voice and a highly regarded reputation as a basketball mentor. This includes a stint with the Golden State Warriors as a player development consultant during KD’s time with the club.

Brooklyn went 35-37 this season, ending the season as the Eastern Conference’s No. 7 seed in the NBA bubble in Florida. But there are high expectations for the club with Durant as the face of the franchise. Standout guard Kyrie Irving is the team’s other building block.

A ringing endorsement

Nets GM Sean Marks said he believes Steve Nash is the right hire.

“After meeting with a number of highly accomplished coaching candidates from diverse backgrounds, we knew we had a difficult decision to make,” Marks said in a team-issued statement. “In Steve we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players. I have had the privilege to know Steve for many years.

“One of the great on-court leaders in our game, I have witnessed firsthand his basketball acumen and selfless approach to prioritize team success. His instincts for the game, combined with an inherent ability to communicate with and unite players towards a common goal, will prepare us to compete at the highest levels of the league. We are excited to welcome Steve, Lilla, Lola, Bella, Matteo, Luca and Ruby to Brooklyn.”

The Nets, who parted ways with head coach Kenny Atkinson in March, didn’t retain interim coach Jacque Vaughn as the former’s permanent replacement. Instead, the team sought a new direction after the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 campaign. Vaughn will remain on the coaching staff as the top assistant.

Steve Nash background

During his playing days, Steve Nash was named NBA MVP in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons as the floor leader of the high-octane Phoenix Suns. He was an eight-time All-Star.

Nash spent 18 seasons in the NBA with the Suns, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Lakers. He officially retired in 2015.

He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

What’s more, Steve Nash is No. 3 on the NBA’s all-time list for assists (10,335).

“I am honored to have this opportunity with such a first-class organization and would like to thank Sean, Joe and his wife, Clara, for having faith in my ability to lead this team forward,” Nash said in a statement. “Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right, and I am humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn. I am as excited about the prospects of the team on the court as I am about moving to Brooklyn with my family and becoming impactful members of this community.”

A scout’s viewpoint

Asked the other day if Steve Nash was a good coaching hire for the Nets, a longtime NBA scout offered his opinion.

“He has been a coach on the floor his whole playing career,” the scout told Latest Basketball News. “If he can manage the egos, especially Kyrie’s, he’ll probably be very good.”

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