Will Weaver, who coached the Long Island Nets head coach during the 2018-19 season — leading the team to the G League Finals — and an assistant to the Brooklyn Nets prior to that, still watches his former organization from afar.
Weaver, who is head coach of the Sydney Kings in the National Basketball League in Australia sees a bright future for the Nets organization. He believes the Nets are the ‘odds on’ favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference next season due to the foundation and work the Nets organization has built during the Sean Marks era.
Weaver also believes Steve Nash, who Weaver describes as a “humble” and “ridiculously skilled” basketball mind, will inherit those values, that culture, with the help of key staff members.
“How can you not feel like that group is the odds on favorite to win the East next year,” Weaver said on the Wingspan Podcast. “I think the work that has been going on there for years and the building of equity, processes, and culture will allow someone like Steve [Nash] to step in and inherit a lot of that.
“There’s Jacque Vaughn who is already there, Bret Brielmaier (a five year coaching vet and JV’s lead assistant in the ““bubble,” is already there, the performance team, the analytics department, and those guys are all together and I do not have any doubt that Steve will be able to simulate very quickly and bring what is obviously a ridiculous skill set into the mix. I have no doubt about what a humble person he is and how little he cares about attention for him. That, I think, is a trait that we are all could have more of if we wanted to be successful so I’m really excited to watch from afar.”
The former Long Island Nets head coach is a big fan of the Nash hiring. Weaver believes Nash will be a huge part of any Nets’ future success.
“How can you not be excited about Steve Nash joining your organization,” Weaver said. “I’ve had the chance to be around him a few times. Obviously, tons of skill, gifts as a basketball player, and special. I think that is a huge part of why he is going to be successful there.”
When asked what advice he would give Nash, Weaver said he believes his resume speaks for himself. Other than his resume, Weaver pinpointed Nash’s desire to learn; a trait the Nets organization, from staff to players, will admire.
“Don’t listen to idiot Australian coaches that won a few games in the G League once,” Weaver jokingly said of himself. “I can not accept the premise of that question. Former MVP’s do not need my two cents.”
“I think the cool thing about him that I have heard already is how eager he is to learn. Being a lifelong learner serves you well in any endeavor so players will see that, the staff obviously will see that, and that’s modeling the type of behavior the organization has displayed over the course of Sean [Marks] time there. They are going to be fine.”
Outside of his connections to the Nets organization, Weaver has known Kevin Durant since he was a freshman at the University of Texas. The Kings coach was a graduate assistant in Austin during the 2006-07 season. The two spent some time together at Texas and Weaver is glad Durant is hanging with his old friends and is apart of the Nets organization.
“Kevin [Durant] and I spent time together when he was 17 and I was 21 maybe 22 at the University of Texas when he was a freshman,” Weaver said. “The fact that he is now hanging out with my old friends in my old stomping grounds is really fun and a cool way to stay connected with the team beyond just my friendship with the other players and the staff that is still there.”
Kyrie Irving stated on Durant’s new podcast, he does not really see the Nets having a head coach. KD agreed, calling collaborative coaching.
“I don’t really see us having a head coach,” Irving said on Durant’s new podcast, “The Etcs.” “KD could be a head coach, I could be a head coach [some days].”
To Weaver, the quotes weren’t something outrageous. He said he will always value his players and always be open to his players voicing their thoughts when he’s coaching. He believes the game is shifting in that direction and stressed that having great relationships with players, on-and-off the court will translate into the success the team wants.
“It does not depend for me,” Weaver said about collaborative coaching. “I’m firmly in the first category. Players are playing the game, they are seeing the game, and they are feeling the game. Why would you ever reduce the amount of good information and feedback they can offer and provide you and your role trying to internalize and weight all the pieces of information you have to help shine a mirror up for the team and see what is actually going on and see a little bit into the future about what can happen soon.
“Our roles are in pursuit of the team performing. I think it’s over time and I hope that we see a paradigm shift on this one and it feels like there is.
“Certainly, in my case, I am trying to stay out of the way. I’m trying not to keep our players from using their multi tool gifts and I’m most importantly trying to help them see how much I want them to succeed and what lengths I am trying to go to help up their strength and mitigate their weaknesses. Communicate the degree to which I am staying up late at night dreaming about what they might be able to achieve for us and in the future.
“The time that we share together on any of these spots is short so making the most out of that and learning from each other, helping each other, and enjoying each other is a big part of how I see my role as a coach and I think Kyrie [Irving] and Kevin see it the same and I would assume Steve sees it the same.”
Weaver, who many think will wind up as an NBA head coach, already has a varied resume’.
Prior to joining the Nets organization in 2016, Weaver spent three seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, most recently in the role of special assistant to head coach Brett Brown after being promoted from video coordinator and basketball operations assistant. He also serves as an assistant coach with the Australian national team, a position he has held since 2014, and coached in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Full episode: https://youtu.be/HrurGPPkFFY