Brooklyn Nets: Grading Steve Nash through his first chunk of games

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 23: Head coach Steve Nash of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 23: Head coach Steve Nash of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets needed an incisive basketball mind to help lead Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and, eventually, James Harden to an NBA title, and they settled on Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash despite the fact that he had no prior NBA coaching experience and would have to manage some of the biggest egos in the sport.

While the Nets have three All-Star players in Durant, Harden, and Irving as they fight for a playoff spot, their loss against the Detroit Pistons marked their third consecutive loss, their fourth defeat in five games, and their 11th loss to a team with a losing record, a mark that stands out as the worst in the NBA.

Though the ship was somewhat righted against Indiana on Wednesday, the shameful mark still dogs this roster.

Nash and an All-Star coaching staff featuring the likes of Mike D’Antoni and Jacque Vaughn are fighting for playoff position despite a roster that should, by all rights, be running away with the conference. Their loss to a 6-18 Detroit team showed that even the league’s bottom-feeders have a shot against the Nets.

How well has Steve Nash been coaching?

Grading Nash as a coach is difficult because it rarely seems like he is dictating what is going on. His decision to essentially delegate offense to D’Antoni and defense to Vaughn should’ve had the Nets humming on both sides. Unfortunately, Nash seems content with clapping from the sidelines while the defense gets eviscerated.

As much as Nash’s basketball acumen is respected from his time as a player, it doesn’t seem like he’s always the best when it comes to communicating and disseminating his marching orders. That inability to translate his ideas on the court has made the Nets troublingly volatile, especially on defense.

Still, Nash hasn’t been a complete train wreck. He has shown that he can consistently outsmart teams like the 76ers, Bucks, Celtics, and Clippers, all of whom are title contenders that Nash has taken down. His schemes have Durant playing like an MVP, Harden leading the league in assists, and Kyrie putting up the best shooting numbers of his career. 

Nash is in charge of the league’s best offense. No matter how you slice it, that is a very impressive feat, especially for a rookie coach. However, the problems on the defensive end and unrivaled inconsistency are major strikes against him. On a team built to win a championship, Nash needs to pick up the pace and stop the skid.

Final Grade: C+

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