The Brooklyn Nets appointed Steve Nash as their head coach in early September, but stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant see Nash as a teammate rather than a top-down manager.
“I don’t really see a head coach,” Irving said in Durant’s new podcast, The Etcs. “KD can be a head coach, I can be a head coach [some days]. “
Durand went on to agree with Irving, calling it a “joint effort” and pointing to assistant and former interim head coach Jacques Vaughan as someone who could play the role every day.
Nash, who was shocked by the Nets’ hire, said when he was appointed coach that he was particularly excited to work with Irving, calling the star defender a “basketball savant”
“Steve is great and I have a relationship with him that will build over time, bro,” Irving said. “Steve doesn’t know me from anything he’s heard or anyone else has heard. We worked once in 2014, but it turned out to be just a respectful relationship from afar. I saw him in the Hall of Fame two years ago, he hugged him tightly and now he’s a head coach, and I think that will also change the way we see coaches.
“I want someone to understand that I’m human first, I serve my community first, and then basketball is something I do every day because I love it,” Irving said. “We’ve always heard and seen how great Nash was as a player, but also when you get to know him as a person, you understand why he can live with us. We don’t need anyone to come in with their coaching philosophy and change everything we do. “
Durant has a strong relationship with Nash, forged during his time with the Golden State Warriors, where Nash was a player development coach.
“I think if Steve is there and we work with our general floor every day, it will only lead to good results for our goal scorers like me and Taurean. [Prince], Karis [LaVert] and Spencer [Dinwiddie]”Said Durand.” Those who have this connection, I think, will be key for us going forward. “
Durant acknowledged the unique leadership dynamics in the network, especially with him, Irving and Nash.
“I think a lot of people can question our leadership, or just the two of us,” Durant said. “But when Ky and I talked about training every day, I think that’s an example to follow, and I think a lot of our teammates will follow suit.”
Irving also looked at crisis situations and how he and Durant would play each other and who would make the final blow. Irving said it would be “who was hot” at the time, but explained that for the first time in his career, he felt like he had equal time on his team.
“One thing I’ve always felt comfortable with, I felt like I was the best option on every team I played for,” Irving said. “This is the first time in my career that I look down and be like, ‘This mother … can also make that shot.’ “And it will probably make it a lot easier.
“It’s not so much procrastination, because in past situations where I didn’t make the last shot, I felt guilty. I want this winning shot, but you also want to trust your teammates. Not that I didn’t trust my teammates, but I felt that I am the best option. “
Irving spent three seasons with LeBron James in Cleveland. He hit one of the best shots in the history of the NBA Finals in Game 7 of their series against the Warriors in 2016.