Fox Sports analyst Antoine Walker called out the Nets for their treatment of assistant Jacque Vaughn.
The Brooklyn Nets’ decision to hire Steve Nash as their next head coach has been met with mixed reviews among the media and fans, and understandably so, as he legitimately has zero coaching experience.
The most notable exposure Nash has had in an NBA organization post-retirement was his player development consultant role with Golden State. Though the Warriors clearly valued his opinion, the reason we didn’t hear much of him in that position was because it wasn’t entirely imperative.
That’s not to say we disagree with Brooklyn’s decision to appoint Nash. We’re merely conveying that we recognize why some folks would have preferred to see one of the other rumored candidates come out on top.
Fox Sports analyst Antoine Walker falls under that category. While he’s an advocate to see “new blood” on the sidelines, he didn’t appreciate how the Nets treated Jacque Vaughn after his masterful showing as the interim coach.
“I think that there’s some other candidates that deserved a look,” Walker told Brandon Robinson on Heavy Live. “I think it’s a little disappointing when we don’t give guys a certain look and I wouldn’t necessarily pinpoint it at being racial. But if I’m going through a coaching search, how do you not sit down with Tyronn Lue who’s coached the best player in the game in LeBron James?”
“Then how do you; and this is what made me the most upset, is you watch a guy like Jacque Vaughn, who’s been around your guys, do a tremendous job with your guys. But you don’t feel like he’s good enough to be the head (coach). But he’s good enough to make him the highest-paid assistant. I don’t know; and I understand Jacque’s position and I know he wants to keep a job, but to me that’s a slap in the face to do that.”
If you are an avid reader of our content, you probably know that we were campaigning for Vaughn to get the nod for how well Brooklyn’s decimated roster performed under his tutelage. He led the Nets to a 7-3 record (pre- and post-restart) before they were unsurprisingly swept by Toronto in the first round of the playoffs.
It’s duly noted that general manager Sean Marks interviewed Vaughn for the former vacancy and ultimately kept him on the staff by making him the league’s highest-paid assistant. However, Walker isn’t out of bounds to say that Vaughn should view Nash’s unanticipated appointment as a back-handed compliment.
We’d love nothing more than to lambaste Walker for coming down on the Nets, but it’s really hard to disagree with his analysis here. It’s totally reasonable to be on board with the Nash hire but to also be dissatisfied that Vaughn wasn’t given more of a chance after exceeding expectations in his interim post.
That’s where we stand in all of this. It felt like things were already decided months ago … because they were.