Where’s the leadership?
The Brooklyn Nets come across themselves in just one of the finest intervals in franchise historical past.
A rarified air knowledgeable only just one other time throughout the early 2000s. With 3 superstars (2.5 if you look at the portion-time character of Kyrie Irving) and a veteran supporting cast Brooklyn, on paper, is just the kind of group you want in today’s NBA.
Even so, challenging instances have lately befallen this group for a litany of reasons.
Injuries, COVID, questionable roster make-up and a element-time participant have turned a standard time that was intended to be a lazy river into a rushing quick. And the man that’s supposed to lead the troops earlier the turmoil is correct at the heart of it.
Don’t forget prior to very last season when anyone was in an uproar due to the fact Kyrie stated he does not truly see the Nets as possessing a mentor?
And that was speedily walked back just after a handful of online games. Steve Nash was gifted with arguably the finest predicament a coach could dream of.
Star coaching stars
Using the reigns of a crew with two elite superstars and then buying a 3rd just a small while immediately after. Nash took about for Kenny Atkinson, the guy partially liable for Brooklyn’s turnaround but ousted for not remaining a “superstar’s mentor.”
In a feeling, the previous two-time MVP was having over some thing that appears also massive to fail. When you have the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and sooner or later James Harden how could you maybe screw it up ideal?
Nash like each one initial-time head coach experienced his expanding pains in his initial time. And Nets fans endured them right alongside with him. From questionable substitution styles to infrequent timeouts to irresponsible takes advantage of of difficulties, Nash was thrown into the proverbial deep close of the pool and advised to swim.
It assists when you have 3 celebrity gamers to serve as a everyday living preserver. But even with the assistance of floaties, there ended up still periods when Nash would come across himself often sinking.
Yet again, struggles come about points like that were being to be envisioned with a new head coach. Credit rating also has to be offered to his dealing with of the plenty of various lineups the Nets made use of previous time owing to the myriad of accidents to the team.
In full Nash has been asked to roll out more than 34 different starting up lineups, the most in the NBA.
The trouble that befalls the Nets and their enthusiasts this year is that it does not look as if Nash has developed plenty of as a head coach to meet up with the benchmarks of a championship-amount crew. Let me preface this by expressing I’m not contacting for Steve Nash’s task. I really don’t have a magic crystal ball to explain to me who is the correct individual for the occupation.
Nevertheless, I do know that he has faltered in a several groups this period, and people faults have to have to be tackled.
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Day-to-day had a great tweet following the team’s the latest reduction to the Warriors. He stated the fact that Steve Nash does not have an imprint on the video game. Some have even likened Nash to an NPC (Non-playable character). And to be frank, at instances it does really feel that way. There is no lack of handclaps and “good task guys just hold fighting” from him. But when it arrives to the nuts and bolts of adjustments and participate in-contacting, that part would seem to be lacking relative to past time.
Under no circumstances feels like Steve Nash has his imprint on the game. As soon as the ball recommendations off, it feels like the gamers are on their own.
— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) January 30, 2022
Now, this is not to say Nash does not make changes that guide to profitable. One particular adjustment in individual that will come to mind is the just one manufactured in Brooklyn’s gain around Indiana throughout Kyrie’s initial activity again. Nash decides to go modest down the extend with KD at the 5 but has Harden in the paint both guarding Domantas Sabonis or taking part in cost-free security.
It labored and the Nets were being capable to occur back and pull away for the get. Granted the Nets should not have even been in that predicament for Nash to have to make an adjustment, but just one was designed, nonetheless. The fact of the make a difference is nonetheless that these kinds of items are couple and far in between this year.
Definitely, there are a large amount of going elements and the mix of injuries in addition staff has limited Brooklyn’s offensive capabilities, but it’s obvious how considerably impact former assistant Mike D’Antoni experienced on Brooklyn’s offense.
A majority of the time this season the offense has seemed like a Hodge Podge of iso ball from Durant and Harden (now Kyrie) or a Harden choose n roll/pop with the occasional Horns or Chicago actions thrown in. I feel I even noticed a Scissors motion when towards the Wizards.
That meme of Nash hugging KD just after Activity 5 towards the Bucks beautifully encapsulates Brooklyn’s offense for the to start with quarter and a fifty percent of the period. The cost-free-flowing nature of the offense has vanished which can also be attributed to just some horrid lineup combos.
Lineups are another challenge that has been puzzling, to say the least. For starters, there should be an acceptance that this roster was produced with a weighty reliance on the Major 3. The Nets’ greatest flaw final season was that they did not play sufficient protection.
So, what did Sean Marks do?
He went and swapped out offense for protection. Apart from Patty Mills each individual other acquisition and signing was for a defensive-oriented player. I’m not even going to depend Paul Millsap simply because that situation is a entire other can of worms.
Replacing scoring choices this sort of as Landry Shamet, Tyler Johnson, and Mike James with defensive-minded athletes like DeAndre’ Bembry, Jevon Carter, and James Johnson. Not to point out the loss of Jeff Eco-friendly to absolutely free company.
Earlier this year Nash mentioned that he would be experimenting with the lineups which is high-quality. Most coaches use the initial thirty day period or so to tinker with distinctive rotations. But the difficulty here is that the exact experiments hold being administered.
If one thing doesn’t work, he’s extra likely to adhere with it hoping it ends up working as opposed to when he does find anything that works and then goes entirely away from it.
For instance, if the pairing of Blake Griffin, Bruce Brown, and Bembry isn’t offering suitable net ratings and splits while on the flooring with each other why hold rolling with it? Glance no person expected Griffin’s capturing to drop off a cliff the way it has this season but if we at house can see Blake simply cannot be utilized as a floor spacer any more, why can not Nash?
It does not consider a brain surgeon to inform you a lineup consisting of a few or a lot more non-shooters in today’s NBA is offensive suicide. Specifically contemplating all those non-shooters aren’t specifically Kawhi Leonard and Gary Payton on protection possibly.
Spacing the flooring is key and when the protection does not have to respect the taking pictures qualities of the men out there, they can cheat and pack the paint much more or be additional inclined to assistance off their guy producing it more difficult for the offense to make them pay out.
Participating in fellas like Bembry, Brown, Johnson, Claxton, and many others together does not make much sense when the only ground spacers out there are one of the Large 3 and Patty Mills. It is not the most great circumstance but rookies Cam Thomas and Kessler Edwards present you with the spacing you desperately have to have.
If we’re nonetheless in the experimentation interval, then experiment with the men that are not always established commodities still but give you a thing constructive when they’re out there. They definitely cannot be worse than what is becoming trotted out by now.
The Challenge with Troubles
Of the quite a few gripes about Nash so far this period, the use of problems may well be the largest. Final year the situation was Nash was not building suitable use of them.
This period, nevertheless, Nash seems to not be employing them at all.
His most important folly so considerably arrived this earlier Saturday when missed two possibilities late in the match to challenge a foul call on his staff which could have absolutely swung the tide of the match.
The to start with of which was a Kessler Edwards committing a foul on Stephen Curry which was later considered by the NBA’s L2M (Final Two Moment Report) as an incorrect call. Curry wound up getting cost-free throws simply because of it.
Steph Curry was awarded no cost throws when he should have been assessed an offensive foul. This is the textbook case in point of the rule transform and yet…
Be dependable, @NBAOfficial. https://t.co/ByMeWD5ibZ pic.twitter.com/Eg6sqmJmkU
— BKN3👌🏿 (@TheBKN3) January 30, 2022
The second option was a single that had the complete NBA entire world scratching their heads. With the Nets inside a solitary possession with much less than 10 seconds remaining, Nash unsuccessful to obstacle a foul called on Kyrie Irving when it appeared he and Klay Thompson experienced just tangled toes.
For the duration of his postgame presser, he spelled out that “a little bird” advised him not to problem and to rather maintain the timeout. Now I recognize listening to your assistants/advisors what have you but at the very same time, you are the head mentor.
In some cases you just have to make the phone on your have.
Even if you may possibly lose that timeout you want to display your workforce that you are combating ideal alongside them. To blame it on the “little bird” is notably weak in my belief. But then again, my feeling does not indicate jack diddly.
Tricky Tablet to Swallow
It is exceptional that we ever see a midseason coaching change for a championship-caliber group. The final time this happened was again in 2016 when the Cavaliers fired David Blatt in January changing him with then-assistant coach Ty Lue who eventually led the Cavs to a championship.
Nash isn’t best. No mentor is. But at some stage, even the staunch Nash supporters have to question by themselves what specifically does Steve Nash do effectively? Sure, he is one of the very best at ATO plays but what about the rest of the game?
You can say “oh perfectly he’s working with a great deal of roster turmoil”. Nicely yeah but so are a large amount of teams and they’re receiving by. Choose a appear at what Taylor Jenkins was equipped to execute in Memphis when Ja Morant went down.
The occupation Billy Donovan did in navigating Chicago’s cataclysmic bouts with COVID and crucial injuries. If you say “well he was brought on to take care of the stars and egos” then you’re declaring the Nets have the basketball equal of Aaron Boone and just ask Yankees admirers how that experience is going.
I know it’s an apple to oranges sort of comparison but you get my drift. Nash is not the sole challenge with the Nets, but he surely doesn’t instill self-confidence ideal now.
Opposite to how points might appear Brooklyn when balanced is nonetheless the crew to defeat in the East. Even though they are only a number of game titles outside the house of engage in-in territory they’re also nevertheless within striking length of initially-put in a jam-packed Eastern Conference.
Moves might be manufactured at or in advance of the trade deadline to bolster the roster but as extended as that three-headed monster of Durant, Irving, and Harden together with Joe Harris are playing they have as very good a shot as any at successful the title.
The only query will be, will Steve Nash be a person of the reasons this crew lifts a Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the postseason, or will they get in spite of him?
Or even yet, will they get with another person else at the reigns?