By Aiden Holczer
Tell me if you’ve heard this headline before, “The Brooklyn Nets hire an NBA Hall of Fame point guard to fill their vacant head coaching position.” Oh, you have? That’s funny because so have I, but that was all the way back in 2013–the year the Nets made what is widely known as the worst trade in NBA history. Those were the dark ages, the infamous “Billy King Era”, surely the Brooklyn Nets would learn from their previous mistakes and look to sign a tenured head coach with success attached to their name, right?
Wrong. With head coaches such as Tyronn Lue, Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy currently available, or soon to hit the open market, the Nets instead decided to go in the direction of Steve Nash. My problem with this hiring stems around one fact that is blatantly obvious to anyone paying attention to the NBA right now. The Nets are clearly in “win now” mode, not “win tomorrow” or “win next week”. They have a rapidly closing window in which to work. Their star players, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, are quickly becoming more and more injury prone as they get older, and key members of their bench unit such as Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie have the end of their contracts in sight.
With this in mind, my question to the Brooklyn Nets organization is a simple one: if you are obviously in a win-now scenario, then why on God’s green Earth are you hiring a coach with no experience, whose proficiency as a head coach is unknown? It doesn’t make a lick of sense. Especially when you consider the fact that the Nets hired Nash for multiple years, effectively making a commitment to him.
The reason why the Nets hired Steve Nash is fairly obvious, he’s a player’s coach. He’s someone who played the game at a level that is very rare to achieve. This makes him easy for players to relate to. The age of the traditional head coach is coming to an end, and the Nets just put another proverbial bullet in its skull. The players will love Steve Nash, of this I have no doubts. After all, Kevin Durant worked with Steve Nash while he was with the Golden State Warriors and has voiced his approval of him before.
But I don’t care about how much the Nets like Steve Nash. When Gregg Popovich’s name is used in the same sentence as the words “possibly leaving the Spurs”, you do everything in your power as a competent NBA team to bring him on board. Screw a traditional contract, give Gregg Popovich the Jay Z treatment and offer him ownership in the team if you can, and if you can’t…do it anyways. Hell, change Bedstuy to Popovich-berg for all I care.
I’m sure Steve Nash will be a decent head coach, and I’ll bet my life that he will be better than Jason Kidd, but the Nets can’t afford to have a “decent” or “okay” head coach; I’d argue that even being just “good” isn’t enough anymore. You have to be special. You have to be different.
While Steve Nash was a spectacular player, the fact of the matter is that no one, including the Brooklyn Nets, know how good he will be as a coach. And considering the rapidly closing championship window that the Nets find themselves in at the moment, hiring Steve Nash is a risk they simply can’t afford. For not only my sake, but the sake of New York, I hope I’m wrong.