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Breaking down the Brooklyn Nets’ hiring of Steve Nash as new head coach

Steve Nash during NBA Finals between Raptors and Warriors
Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets on Thursday morning shocked the NBA world by hiring two-time league MVP Steve Nash to become the franchise’s newest head coach.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the hiring will be made official during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Nash, 46, replaces interim head coach Jacque Vaughn, who led the team in the Orlando bubble following the firing of Kenny Atkinson before the season was suspended back in March. He has no coaching experience at any level. Here, we break down Thursday’s news that the Hall of Famer will now be leading Brooklyn’s star-studded roster.

Steve Nash is the perfect man to control the egos in Brooklyn

  • Outside of Nash’s brilliant career as a player and his reputation around the league, this is likely the primary reason owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks made this decision.
  • Nash will have to work with the combination of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — two players who have egos the size of North America. Given his experience as a star player and the respect he’s earned, Nash should be more than up for the job.
  • Nash worked with Durant with the Golden State Warriors when the former was a consultant in the Bay Area. The two have a relationship. One more than one occasion, Nash could be seen working with Durant and other star Warriors players in practice.

“After meeting with a number of highly accomplished coaching candidates from diverse backgrounds, we knew we had a difficult decision to make,” said General Manager Sean Marks, via the Nets’ official website. “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.”

“Leader, communicator and mentor.” Those were the words of one of the individuals responsible for hiring Nash, Nets general manager Sean Marks. It’s obvious what the brass in New York City valued here.

Jacque Vaughn to stay on as top assistant coach

  • This is no small thing. Vaughn has the experience that Nash lacks on the bench. In his interim role, he did well to keep a young Nets roster together at the Orlando bubble when the likes of Durant, Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie, among others, were absent.
  • A former player himself, Vaughn served as the Orlando Magic head coach from 2012-15. While he posted a substandard 58-158 record in that role, the experience certainly is here. It’s going to help Nash make the transition to the bench.

Bottom line

It’s clear what direction Brooklyn wanted to take this hiring process. In a way, they are looking to duplicate that success we’ve seen from Steve Kerr in Golden State. That is to say, hiring a respected basketball mind without any coaching experience.

In no way does this mean Nash can’t handle the duties. We’ve seen other coaches in similar situations handle the job extremely well out of the gate. He proved to have the IQ and smarts to be a dominant player during his days as a league MVP. That should translate to the bench.

More than anything, Nash was brought on due to his relationship with Durant and the need to find someone who will mesh well with Irving. The Nets seem to think they have found their guy.

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