NEW YORK – It’s easy to get lost in the sea of all-star characters, stories and talent you hire Brooklyn Networksso Steve Nash can naturally run on the limbs if he chooses to.
It’s often said that a locker room can’t hold but there’s so much to it, there’s got to be a special blend and a consistent connector to pull it together – especially in the NBA today.
Nash doesn’t have a strong, domineering presence or booming voice that could stop people in their tracks. His talent, in becoming one of the defining players of his time, was his meticulous efficiency and toughness.
This would help him train the nets, and keep them on track for nine months. But they do need strength, applied pressure, and some no-nonsense annoyance.
Nash does not have the hallmark of being a coach, something that could work if one played a game of word association. That steely approach, constantly licking his hair back or licking his fingers before running plays, belied his resolve and drive that never stopped searching for answers against some of the NBA’s toughest defenses.
The same look he has on the sideline gives off the appearance of a befuddled and often over-the-top coach, almost like a substitute teacher in a room full of fanatical and hormonal teens dabbling in high school.
So his effect was transient on the net, Kevin Durant new request fire as a coach during the saga of “Trade Me” over the summer, along with Durant’s desire to remove Shawn Marks from the team engineer position.
Nash downplayed the reports, saying on the first day of bootcamp, “I never thought it was 100 percent. It’s not black and white like that. There are a lot of factors, a lot of things behind the scenes.”
Was it 90 percent true that Durant wanted him gone? Or 85 percent? It’s hard to say, considering that Nash can sometimes be slicked back in the name of conservation. He issued daily denials regarding the availability of a James Harden trade in the days leading up to last season’s deadline, though there was clearly smoke between the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
There was no pretty setting, no Jeep permit to Amare Stoudemire for a bird immersion, which Nash could have taken either way to appease the audience. In some ways, it’s the product of circumstances and factors that he has little control over, so it’s not likely to be full transparency.
However, he persists in the idea of things going on around Nash rather than being a catalyst. Despite Durant’s talent, as talented as he is for generations and still the worst man to walk, he’s not a broadcaster.
Durant isn’t as wobbly as portrayed, but it’s clear that the Nets franchise needs someone who is consistent and outspoken, someone who speaks with authority and clarity. Someone who is respected and trusted – but to be fair, it’s hard to point to a spirit that Irving trusts completely and steadfastly on the sidelines.
It is difficult to evaluate Nash on the basis of a list because so many Focus on culture Unlike actual basketball strategy. Could Irving be a winning player in this setting? Can Simmons – if he play – relieve the playmaking responsibilities of both to maximize them as scorers?
Do the networks have sufficient size at the edge or even the periphery?
On the one hand, the Nets were on top of the East before Durant’s MCL hit on the first of the year, even with all the issues swirling around the team. Had Nash had a firm hand then, his guidance was shaken by circumstances that would have shaken the game’s best coaches?
Not that, when Harden moved out, Irving was apparently organizing drills after Nash ran and finished the season with a four-game strike, the Nets were the only team to swept in the first round.
Unfortunately in sports, results dictate the effectiveness of one’s approach. So Nash’s approach, while wise in his mind, was not the right one.
And there’s no clue dealing with the main characters in the Nets locker room, so Nash could have a mission impossible on a good day.
Marx can play nice with words and say he’s not Durant’s boss, and that they’re in a partnership – powered by Issuing a statement for networks Weeks ago it was announced that Durant is canceling his trade order and returning to the Nets, with Durant’s business logo embossed at the bottom of the page.
But Nash doesn’t have that luxury, especially when he has to hand the daily gospel to the networks. Responding to the final chapter in Kyrie’s book or deciphering Durant’s moods and desires is Nash’s responsibility, not Marx’s.
It’s Nash’s first coaching job, but he’s in his third year in this particular ecosystem. On a media day, he poignantly stated that he “knows” Durant, dating back to Nash’s time in the Golden State when he was an advisor.
His Hall of Fame career gives him the knowledge that insanity is often a prerequisite in the NBA, and much of it goes unreported even when it’s caught on through the ups and downs. So he can be believed and trusted when he doesn’t seem to take any of this personally.
But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t make his mark on a team that desperately needs one. It’s actually his job.
It’s possible that he learned more about training and his own behavior in those first two disingenuous seasons that allowed Marx to add staff to cover those blind spots – if one chooses to be too optimistic.
At no time has Nash challenged his players in a way that would make them feel uncomfortable, perhaps because he knows he’s not as experienced as the other contenders in training.
Perhaps feeling a little uneasy is what is essential to growth and development, and finding his coaching voice will help the Nets find an identity unrelated to drama, lethargy, immature, or ill-informed posts on social media.
All we know is that nothing is working yet and the clock is ticking for Durant, Marks, Irving and Simmons.
And for the dull Steve Nash, too.