It’s all about collaboration.
Although his two superstars took heat a month back for suggesting that they could be the Nets coaches, Nash didn’t explain or back down from the assertion. On no fewer than four occasions, Nash volunteered that collaboration is critical to his mission.
Asked what your leadership style will look like, Nash replied...
- “Positive … collaborative … and hopefully someone that can build a team in connectivity and a toughness.”
And what drives him?
- “I love to teach. I love to lead and mentor. I love to collaborate and be a part of a team fabric. And I love to compete.”
How about pressure?
- “You want to have pressure, and try to fight and build and overcome and collaborate and build something that is winning and sustainable.
Finally, what makes him think he can take the reins of a championship contender without previous coaching experience?
- “Desire, belief and support. We have a great organization here, tons of support, tons of talent … this is not [just] me, this is us. … This will be a great collaboration.”
Durant and particularly Irving took heat a month ago when they spoke about head coaching and how it’s a collaboration.
“It’s going to change the way we see coaches. I don’t really see us having a head coach,” Irving said, a little ambiguous about whether he was talking about the job or play-calling. “KD could be a head coach; I could be a head coach.”
Durant interjected, “Jacque Vaughn could be a head coach could do it one day. It’s a collaborative effort.”
“We don’t need someone to come in with their coaching philosophy, change everything we’re doing, change up the wheel, and we’re going to start running on the first day of practice. No,” said Irving.
While pundits and some fans, particularly in the nether reaches of New York and Boston, took issue with the statement, contending there can only be one head coach, Nash didn’t seem to have an issue either in the Serby interview or in the “Town Hall” hosted by Ian Eagle on YES and the Nets website Tuesday.
“I’d much rather come in with principles, with ideas that allow our players to collaborate with us and allow their personalities and the dynamic between them and the chemistry to have a role in how it evolves,” he told Eagle, adding at another point, he wants to create “an environment that is fun but challenging and collaborative?
What does it mean? It’s the era of player empowerment and that translates to stars, particularly superstars, having power they never had in the past.
Serby also spoke to Nash about his goals for the season and once again said that Brooklyn is about building for a championship this season.
“Not championship or bust, but we’re playing for a championship, that’s our goal,” he told Serby. “I think it’s silly, the championship or bust, you never know. You have to have health, you have to have luck to win a championship. It’s not as simple as one plus one equals two, but we are playing for a championship. We are saying that out loud. That’s how we’re going to frame all the decisions we make and the effort and intensity that we train and play with.”
This being the Nets, Nash didn’t even hint about the “decisions” the Nets will be making.
Nash also harkened back to his time as a player and suggested what made him a Hall of Famer and two-time MVP.
“Sacrifice. Maybe that’s second to the passion for the sport. If you have a passion for something — like I had a passion for improving — you’re willing to make the sacrifices,” he said. “You’re willing to do it day after day, year after year. And when you put all those days and weeks, months, years together, you give yourself a chance to have that type of career.”
He like so many NBA players and fans has a clear recollection of where he was and how he reacted when he heard the news of Kobe Bryant’s death back in January.
“I was playing at tennis in L.A., and I felt … almost nothing, in that I just went cold and numb, and I don’t know if it was a defense mechanism, shock or … It took me a long time to really — and I still think I’m coming to grips with it’s actually true. It doesn’t feel real. Having competed my whole career against him, playing with him for a year basically, I hadn’t seen him probably since 2016, and so, you always feel like he’s there and we’ll cross paths one day again. It’s been very difficult for me to come to grips with it.”
Serby also asked for one-word descriptions of several NBA types. Of Mike D’Antoni, who he hired this week, he said, “brilliant” and of Amar’e Stoudemire who will also be seated on the Nets bench, he had two descriptions: “I could say pride, or I could say explosiveness.”
Asked about how he hoped his Nets would be seen,, he replied, “I think the two things that I would lead with are ‘connected’ and ‘competitive.’”
- Steve Nash talks Nets pressure, nearly playing for Knicks, most bitter loss - Steve Serby - New York Post