It is not often that stunning news comes from the NBA coaching ranks, but that was the case on Thursday as the Brooklyn Nets ended their weeks-long search by hiring two-time MVP Steve Nash.
Nash, 46, was a great player for a long time but does not have NBA coaching experience beyond being a consultant for the Golden State Warriors. So, he is familiar with Kevin Durant and he also played with Nets general manager Sean Marks in Phoenix.
“In Steve we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players," Marks said in a press release.
Nash will have to do some learning on the job and that is part of what makes the move surprising, beyond the fact their interest in him wasn't previously reported. The Nets will have Durant back alongside Kyrie Irving and Durant will be 32 years old. If they hope to contend for a title, it will have to be soon.
Hiring an unproven coach can sometimes bring with it some growing pains and the Nets can't afford to wait long for him to figure things out. Perhaps that is why they retained Jacque Vaughn as Nash's lead assistant. Vaughn filled in admirably at the end of the 2019-20 season once Kenny Atkinson was fired, leading Brooklyn to a 7-3 record.
The fact Nash got the job over him will be second-guessed. And Vaughn isn't the only qualified candidate the Nets chose Nash over.
Marks has proven to be one of the better GMs in basketball with how his team has performed the last two seasons through injuries and following a roster build with limited resources. Now, he his taking a big swing with the head coach position, betting Nash's on-court success can translate to the sidelines.