It may or may not have been planned but on the day after Steve Nash spoke to New York media, four of his players were on the record, in podcasts and online interviews, talking about their new coach ... and their hopes for next season.
Kevin Durant, of course, spoke to J.J. Redick on his “Old Man and the Three” podcast. and talked about why he wanted the Nets ... and not the Knicks. (He spoke as well to reporters at a Washington Football Club luncheon.)
He wasn’t alone. In interviews posted Thursday, Caris LeVert spoke with Ryan Ruocco and C.C. Sababathia on the R2C2 podcast, Spencer Dinwiddie talked with Shlomo Sprung of Forbes Sports and Joe Harris was on JWilly, a UVA-themed podcast hosted by his former assistant coach.
Each spoke about Nash and how much they respected him. In addition, Harris said he had sat down for coffee with Nash and Sean Marks to get acquainted. LeVert, Harris and Dinwiddie all said they were as surprised as anyone when the hire was announced, suggesting they weren’t consulted beforehand.
“I met with him the other day, grabbed a coffee with him and Sean. First time I met Steve,” Harris told “The JWilly Show” podcast. “His reputation obviously across the league is incredible. Everybody that’s ever played with him, everybody that’s ever been around him, nothing but good things, and that’s exactly how he was in person, too.
“You add that into the mix too, you have a coach like Steve Nash — and I’m excited to see the staff he assembles — but factor that with what Brooklyn’s already got going on and it obviously makes it a very appealing place.”
Similarly, Dinwiddie spoke of Nash ... and his surprise at the hiring.
“It was definitely out of left field,” he said. “I think overall, it makes sense from the relationship perspective.”
He believes Nash will be fine despite his lack of experience.
“And to me coaching at this level, especially with the talent that we have, it’s like 80% psychologist, 10% temperament, 10% x’s and o’s,” Dinwiddie said. “It’s mostly about managing the egos. That’s why Phil Jackson was phenomenal. He knew how to speak to Kobe. He knew how to speak to Michael.”
And Dinwiddie didn’t shy away from the controversy surrounding the hiring of an inexperienced white coach while other Black coaches can’t get head coaching gigs.
“Obviously white privilege is a thing, 1000%,” Dinwiddie said. “But in this situation, he’s only one of the most qualified basketball players of all time and is friends with the stars of our team and the GM of the team [Sean Marks, who played with Nash in Phoenix]. It kind of makes sense beyond the fact that he doesn’t have coaching experience.”
As for x’s and o’s, Dinwiddie told Sprung he’s not concerned. Coaching is bigger than than.
“It’s more like if we’re losing three, four games in a row and KD gets mad or Kyrie gets mad, how do we make sure that everybody stays together, make sure things are okay,” he said. “And okay, DJ [DeAndre Jordan] hasn’t gotten a lob in seven plays, how do we get him a touch? It’s moreso that type of management than it is ‘call this play.’”
Dinwiddie also updated his medical condition. Unlike many of his teammates who tested positive for the coronavirus, he actually came down with COVID-19 after he returned to Brooklyn from San Antonio in June.
“After the initial three weeks that I was dealing with it, I probably felt the effects for maybe another couple,” he told Sprung. “After a month and a half or so, I was pretty solid.”
LeVert spoke about Nash as well as Kyrie Irving. The Nets swingman said he got a call from Sean Marks about the hire just before it hit Twitter.
“Sean called me before I saw it on Twitter,” said LeVert, indicating he was not consulted before the Nets decided on Nash. “He said, ‘Steve’s going to be our coach going forward and I think he’s going to reach out to you in the next couple of hours. If you have any questions, let me know. It was early in the morning. So it wasn’t just a long talk.
“I spoke with Steve. I have a good relationship with Steve, too” he noted. “You know I worked out with him maybe two, three years ago. Actually, with KD. And I worked out with him again last year. Like you said, extremely high basketball IQ. Obviously a two-time MVP. Great leader on the court, so I can’t wait to learn from him and soak up as much knowledge as I can learn from him. I think this will be a great situation for sure.”
Talking about his relationship with Durant, LeVert said they’ve had a lot of interaction.
“He’s been huge for my development,” he said. “I was working out with Kev for two, three months. A lot of 1-on-1 battles. A lot of skill work, shooting work. Both of those guys (Durant and Irving) are artists. It’s crazy to see how locked in , how hard the go every single rep.”
LeVert also defended Irving as a teammate, calling him “one of the best teammates I’ve had.”
“So honestly, it’s like, it’s crazy when people talk about him being a bad teammate or you know, the things that they say about him,” said LeVert. “I think he said it best this year, he’s human. Everybody’s human. Just because he’s a great player like he’s still a human being at the end of the day.
“He’s a great teammate, great guy. I think if you ask anybody on the Nets they will tell you the same thing. I can’t speak on his prior teams and things like that. But since he’s been with the Nets, since he’s been with us, he’s been a great guy, a great teammate,”
“Great guy to learn from, great guy to go to war with and we can’t wait for next year. I think it’s gonna be really special,”
LeVert, who just turned 26, said that as “a kid,” Durant, Irving and Crawford were among his favorite players. And now...
“It’s come full circle. When I was a kid, Jamal was one of my favorite players. Kyrie was one of my favorite players. And KD was one of my favorite players. It’s crazy to think that I am playing with all of them now.”
LeVert also spoke about the mid-range and how “The Last Dance” changed his perspective on the game.
“Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player ever, and has inspired so many to play the game. However, he imposed his will on the court with an unstoppable mid-range shot. His fadeaway jumpers became the stuff of legends.
In the modern NBA, the mid-range is the worst shot analytics wise, which is why players have moved away from them. Despite that, the conclusion Brooklyn Nets star Caris LeVert drew from MJ’s documentary ‘The Last Dance’ was how valuable the mid-ranger is.
“During the quarantine, The Last Dance came out and everyone was looking at Michael Jordan. And I’m looking at his game and I’m like he’s shooting all mid-range,” LeVert said. “It’s crazy how much the NBA has changed. It’s like he’s making all his money in the midrange. I’m like I don’t have to do it all the way like that, but if I can get a couple of baskets from the midrange, that’ll pump up my game so much more.”
Meanwhile, Nash appeared on TNT Thursday.
Incoming @BrooklynNets head coach @SteveNash joined #InsideTheNBA to talk expectations the for upcoming year, his coaching style, the issue of white privilege and diversity among NBA head coaches, and that 2nd MVP trophy @SHAQ jokes he "stole" pic.twitter.com/AyeI9OqZGU— TurnerSportsPR (@TurnerSportsPR) September 11, 2020
In addition to saying his offense will be fast-paced, Nash and Shaquille O’Neal got into it about who is the rightful owner of those MVP trophies Nash won in the mid-2000’s.
- Steve Nash makes Nets even more appealing to free agent Joe Harris - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- For Nets’ Joe Harris, there’s no place like Brooklyn - John Torenli - Brooklyn Eagle
- Nets’ Kevin Durant ‘excited’ to be coached by Steve Nash - Andrew Lopez - ESPN