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Steve Nash, James Harden get honest about Nets being so quiet


The first-place Brooklyn Nets are winning, but they may not have a lot to say to each other about it. Head coach Steve Nash has been trying to get his team (14-5) to communicate more on the floor. He often preaches “communication and connectivity,” especially on the defensive end of the court. But it sounds like he wouldn’t mind a little more vocal leadership or even just some good old-fashioned chit-chat in his Nets locker room.

“One of the quietest [teams] I’ve ever been around,” revealed the head coach. “But they’re starting to come out of their shell a little bit. Tonight was a bit more talkative and the spirit is growing so that’s important. But we’re not a loud group,” explained Nash after the most recent 123-104 victory in Boston.

The Nets played some stifling defense in the last game, holding Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum to just 4-of-16 from the field and his running mate Jaylen Brown to a mere 5-of-15 shooting. Boston’s normally lethal All-Star duo combined for just 28 points on 31 shots as Brooklyn dominated almost the entire game. The Nets built a lead as large as 29 points and held off a Celtics surge to win by 19.

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But feeling good with a big road win and a couple days off for Thanksgiving, Brooklyn couldn’t help but laugh at how quiet the roster can be.

“Yeah. Struggle. Struggle,” laughed James Harden. “One thing about it, though, we got a professional group. They come in and work, try to do the game plan, we did get it in. Just trying to get a little bit more personality out of them, get a little more communication out of them, even off the court I think that goes a long way. But it’s still early, but I feel like I be overly talking. Feel like I talk too much. But we got a good group that’s all I can say.”

It has long been a question of just how important it is for a championship-caliber team to get along off the court. Does chemistry on the court come from being connected off it it? Is it at least correlated where winning teams do tend to like each other and go out to eat together on the road sometimes? These Nets seem to like each other, but they may not have any super chatty players. Both KD and Harden have talked about becoming more vocal over the years as their leadership developed.

With Steve Nash and his former Suns teams, LaMarcus Aldridge’s Portland Trail Blazers groups, Patty Mills’ Spurs, Blake Griffin’s Clippers, Kevin Durant with his Thunder and Warriors squads, Harden’s Rockets, and Kyrie Irving’s Cavaliers, the Nets could probably write a book or three about player relationships and the impact of that trait on title contention.

Some say it doesn’t matter if you talk a lot, like each other or go out to eat. Others say it’s vital. They want to communicate on the floor so they can coordinate their game plans. But whether or not they’ll begin to come out of that personality shell a bit more is something we’ll have to keep an eye on.

For now it’s a “struggle,” as The Beard says. We’ll see if that ultimately matters down the road.