Steve Nash might have his hands full coaching the Brooklyn Nets.
Nets star Kevin Durant launched his new podcast this week, “The ETCs,” and had his teammate Kyrie Irving on as a guest. They talked extensively about Nash, the new head coach for the Nets, but also talked about coaching in general. Would you be surprised to learn that they don’t think the Nets need a traditional head coach? Probably not!
Kyrie Irving speaks on the coaching situation: "I don't really see us having a "head" coach. KD could be a head coach, I could be a head coach (some days)."— Alec Sturm (@alec_sturm) October 1, 2020
KD adds: "Jacque Vaughn could be a head coach could do it one day. It's a collaborative effort."
That seems a little extreme, but only if you isolate that sequence and take it out of context. For them, it’s about who’s got the best insight on that day, or who’s working best with the rest of the team at a certain moment. It’s not that they don’t need a coach, it’s that they think a basketball team should be a collaboration.
Durant and Irving seem to be pretty self aware. They know that they’re both strong men with strong personalities, and they understand that it’s going to take a certain kind of person to coach them — but they also know that they need to let themselves be coached, because that’s the only way for the Nets to move forward as a team.
Kevin Durant on his podcast, the ETCs: "I think a lot of people may question our leadership, overall or just us two. But when me and Ky talked about being coached every single day, I think that's leading by example and I think a lot our teammates are gonna follow that when that."— Alec Sturm (@alec_sturm) October 1, 2020
Kyrie Irving on his relationship with Steve Nash: "He said i was the first person to call him Coach Nash, but I call him Steve. I have a relationship with him that's gonna build over time. We worked out in 2014. I saw him in the Hall of Fame two years ago, have him a big hug."— Alec Sturm (@alec_sturm) October 1, 2020
Irving and Durant may have said that the Nets don’t need a traditional head coach, but they also spent a lot of time talking about how much respect they have for Nash. They seem to like him a lot, and are looking forward to collaborating with him.
Durant on Nash's presence: "I think having Steve there and collaborating with our floor general every day is only gonna yield good results for our scorers like myself and Taurean, Caris and Spencer. Them having that relationship I think is gonna be key for us going forward."— Alec Sturm (@alec_sturm) October 1, 2020
He adds that Nash's relationship with the other players on the team could be even more important than his with Durant and Irving.— Alec Sturm (@alec_sturm) October 1, 2020
Kyrie Irving: "Steve coming in at this moment and then following up with a great coaching core was gonna make us more successful."— Alec Sturm (@alec_sturm) October 1, 2020
Collaboration appears to be the key word here. Irving and Durant want someone who is going to work with them instead of imposing their leadership and point of view on the team. That involves Nash knowing the players he’s coaching as full humans and understanding how they approach the game, and how that fits in with the rest of their lives.
Kyrie Irving on Steve Nash: "We always heard and saw how great Nash was as a player, but also when you get to know him as a person, you understand why he can coexist with us. We don't need someone to come in with their coaching philosophy and change everything we're doing."— Alec Sturm (@alec_sturm) October 1, 2020
Kyrie Irving what he needed in a head coach: "I want somebody that's gonna understand that I am a human being first, I serve my community first, and then basketball is something I do every day because I love."— Alec Sturm (@alec_sturm) October 1, 2020
It may not be smooth sailing for Nash and the Nets from the very beginning. Nash is a first time NBA coach and both Durant and Irving aren’t ones to let off the gas for even a moment. There will undoubtedly be growing pains. But as long as the Nets are willing to give it time to work, everyone else should too.
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