Brooklyn Nets Hire Steve Nash as Head Coach

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  • Steve Nash has been named as the 23rd head coach in Brooklyn Nets history.
  • Nash signed a four-year head coaching job with Brooklyn after heavy recruiting by GM Sean Marks.
  • The former back to back NBA MVP works as player development consultant with the Golden State Warriors since his retirement.

The Brooklyn Nets named former two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash as their head coach on Thursday. Nash becomes the 23rd head coach of the franchise after signing a four-year deal with the Nets.

Nash joins Brooklyn after spending the last five seasons working as a consultant for player development in Golden State. According to reports, Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai and General Manager Sean Marks have been aggressive in convincing Nash to make the leap to coaching.

Marks met with several high profile candidates prior to pursuing Nash. There were even rumors that Brooklyn might go after the legendary Gregg Popovich after the San Antonio Spurs playoff streak ended this season. In the end, Marks chose Nash, who was his teammate in Phoenix.

Said Marks in a statement:

“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 news release. “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.”

Came Out of Left Field

The announcement came out of left field. Not only does Nash not have coaching experience, the Nets are also gunning to win a championship with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. After Kenny Atkinson was fired, assistant coach Jacque Vaughn finished the 2019-20 season and was considered as one of the betting favorites to land the Brooklyn head coaching job.

Back when the league was suspended in March, the betting odds for Atkinson’s successor was released and it was Tyronn Lue, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Vaughn who were on top of the oddsboard. Lue has since become the favorite to land the Sixers’ coaching job but even then, no one had Nash in mind, well except perhaps the Nets.

The Nets also announced on Thursday that Vaughn will be retained as the team’s lead assistant coach. Sources told ESPN that had Brooklyn failed to convince Nash to take the job, it would have been offered to Vaugh. Instead, the Nets will make him the highest paid assistant coach in the league.

No Coaching Experience

The 46-year old Nash takes over a Brooklyn team that was the biggest winner in the last free agency period. The Nets were able to land two of the biggest fishes in free agency with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, Irving played only 20 games before he was shut down due to a shoulder injury while Durant spent the entire season recuperating from a ruptured right Achilles tendon.

The Nets were invited to the NBA restart in Orlando and they finished with the 7th best record in the Eastern Conference. However, Brooklyn was swept in the first round by the defending champions Toronto Raptors. The Nets have made the playoffs five times in the last eight years, but have been ousted in the first round in four of those playoff appearances. Now they will head to the 2021 season with a coach that has no previous experience at this level.

But while the 46-year old Nash has zero coaching experience, he has a history of being a great leader and is known to be a good innovator. He also boasts of a strong personal relationship with Durant, as the the two worked together when Nash was a special consultant for the Golden State Warriors. Nash is also one of the best players to play point guard, the position that Kyrie Irving plays.

Back To Back MVP

Nash played college basketball at Santa Clara and was drafted 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 1996 NBA Draft. The Suns ended up trading him to the Dallas Mavericks because Nash asked for more playing time but could not get it with Jason Kidd also playing for the Suns.

He blossomed in Dallas while playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki. When he became a free agent in 2004, Nash returned to Phoenix. He excelled while playing Mike D’Antoni’s high-powered up-tempo offense. He won back to back MVPs in 2005 and 2006, became a three-time All-NBA first team selection, and was an 8-time All-Star selection during his Hall of Fame career.

After his retirement, Nash was reportedly lured by several teams to front office positions and even head coaching jobs. He chose a low-key special consultant job with the Golden State Warriors and worked with players. In Golden State, Nash won two titles and joined the team in four NBA Finals appearances. Now he is back in the spotlight and Brooklyn hopes that his leadership and resume will lead them to the land of promise.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.