Here’s what new Nets HC Steve Nash can teach point guard Kyrie Irving.
The Brooklyn Nets pulled off quite the shocker earlier this week when they hired Steve Nash to become their next head coach, ending what was shaping up to be a captivating coaching search before it really began.
After all, assistant-turned-interim hero Jacque Vaughn became the first candidate to formally interview for the position just 48 hours earlier, during which he left a strong impression on ownership. As it turns out, that buzz, as much as the franchise respects Vaughn, was nothing more than a smokescreen to deter the media from Brooklyn’s already advanced negotiations with Nash.
Though we’re still processing how this hire came to be, the more we think about it, the more we think that it’s a great fit. The former two-time MVP’s sheer expertise as it pertains to playmaking could unleash an even more efficient offense compared to what we witnessed this past season with the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both shelved with injuries.
Speaking of which, let’s take a closer look as to what Nash can teach Brooklyn’s star point guard.
This isn’t to say that Irving has a lot to learn. For his career, he’s managed 22.4 points per game with top-tier (in terms of guards) .466/.390/.877 shooting splits. However, if there’s one facet of his game that could be improved — we say that extremely lightly — it’s his playmaking ability.
We’re not suggesting that Irving has poor vision, but his undeniable tendency to find his own shot before creating for his teammates is precisely what makes him so polarizing. When you look at how the former No. 1 overall pick‘s former teams have fared when he’s the primary scorer (the Cleveland Cavaliers before LeBron James returned), it only shows why he should be more of a willing passer.
Irving will obviously play second-fiddle to Durant, but the cavalcade of scorers on the Nets roster indicates that he shouldn’t be averaging 20.8 shots per game like he did in his 20 appearances this campaign before he underwent shoulder surgery.
Nash’s experience running the point on star-studded offenses will only prove to benefit the Duke product. The 2003-04 Dallas Mavericks and 2004-05 Phoenix Suns rank first and second in terms of highest offensive efficiency rating of all time. Care to guess how many shots Nash averaged in those seasons? 10.8 and 11.4.
That’s not to assert that Irving shouldn’t be a prominent scorer on Brooklyn’s offense next season, but a little less eagerness to bamboozle defenders with his dribbling repertoire could go a long way in helping the team reach its admittedly high ceiling.
Let’s hope that Nash gets through to him, because the finished product could be something special.