Steve Nash was regarded as one of basketball’s brightest young coaches when the Brooklyn Nets hired him in September 2020. He’s out just over two years later, a pair of failed seasons, never-ending drama and wholly dispiriting beginning to 2022-23 prompting Nash’s mutually agreed upon departure from Brooklyn.
Nash, obviously, wasn’t the Nets’ only problem. But the same dynamics that caused Kevin Durant to demand the ouster of him and general manager Sean Marks this summer were evident throughout the first two weeks of the regular season, with the Nets clearly lacking a sense of collective accountability to Nash and the team’s greater good during a 2-5 start.
Don’t count one of Nash’s first influences in the coaching sphere as among those focusing on his shortcomings in Brooklyn, though.
Steve Kerr defended Nash, a consultant with the Golden State Warriors from 2015 until he was hired by the Nets, before the defending champions’ matchup with the Miami Heat on Tuesday.
“I feel for Steve. I think he has all the qualities to be a brilliant coach,” Kerr said, per Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports.
Kerr, who’s enjoyed one of the most successful coaching tenures ever since taking the reins with the Warriors in 2014, went on to say that he wouldn’t have done better “in that situation” than Nash, stressing the Hall-of-Fame point guard needs “a more stable environment” to thrive.
That last part goes without saying.
Criticize Nash’s pointedly hands-off approach (before this season, at least) to the Durant-Kyrie Irving era all you want, but expectations of a championship were never coming to fruition in Brooklyn so long as Irving, James Harden and Ben Simmons didn’t reach their pre-Nets levels of play, no matter the reason why.
A rash of injuries to key role players didn’t make Nash’s job any easier. The same goes for seemingly never-ending off-court drama, most recently manifested by Irving’s promoting an antisemitic film and parroting antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Maybe Nash wasn’t quite seasoned enough to be plucked from his largely casual position with the Warriors into one of the most high profile head-coaching gigs in basketball. There’s no debating Kerr’s point any coach would struggle operating under the constant dysfunction that’s plagued Brooklyn since Nash was first hired, though—even one who had prior experience.