Brooklyn Nets: Should Steve Nash be considered for Coach of the Year?

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: Head coach Steve Nash of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: Head coach Steve Nash of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

When the Brooklyn Nets secured their victory Tuesday night, they clinched a playoff spot for a third straight year and were the first eastern conference team to do so this season.

Lots of credit belongs to Nets GM Sean Marks for building a deep team, as the Nets stars have been in and out of the lineup all season.

Surely, though, a different floor general is responsible for melding so many personalities and needs together under constant duress.

With that said, the question should be asked… does Nets head coach Steve Nash deserve some Coach of the Year consideration?

Coming into the year, Nash was considered a long shot to be Coach of the Year. Playing in the weaker conference combined with the Nets’ starpower made it unlikely for Nash to be considered for the award. However, as the season’s unfolded, Nash’s case for the honor has only gotten stronger.

For starters, the Nets’ Big 3 have barely played together. They are 5-1 in games they have completed, but the lack of playing time is not ideal and Nash has said as much before. The lack of consistency has forced the Nets to rely on their deep bench on their way to the top of the Eastern Conference.

Nash has pushed the right buttons all season, most recently rolling with Mike James for extended minutes Tuesday night against the Raptors. James had an 11-point, six-assist performance in the fouth quarter to help lead the Nets to victory. We’ve seen role players such as Nicolas Claxton and Alize Johnson be put in roles to succeed by Nash and the coaching staff. As a result, it has fast-tracked their development and paid dividends on the court.

Lastly, Nash’s relationships with the superstars can’t be applauded enough. The responsibility of being a head coach in the NBA is more than just perfecting the on-court product, but also involves the ability to have a relationship with your stars.

Phil Jackson will go down as a legendary head coach not only because of his ability to use the Triangle Offense, but also because he forged working relationships with his star players. He had great relationships and an understanding with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant & Shaquille O’ Neal. Sometimes forging a relationship with your stars is the hardest part of the job, but it appears Nash has done a fantastic job of doing just that.

Who might prevent Brooklyn Nets HC Steve Nash from winning Coach of the Year?

Vegas odds currently have Steve Nash with the fifth-best odds to win Coach of the Year behind Quin Snyder, Monty Williams, Tom Thibodeau and Doc Rivers. The impressive seasons from the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks may be the biggest hurdle for Nash to win the award.

Monty Williams has the Phoenix Suns playing the best basketball they have played in years. His coaching combined with Chris Paul’s leadership has elevated the Suns into second place in the Western Conference. The Suns were considered a borderline playoff team heading into the season.

Nash was actually very complimentary of Williams leading into their game on April 25.

However, the most impressive coaching performance may have come from the Thibodeau-led Knicks. Heading into the season, the Knicks were considered perhaps the worst team in the NBA on paper. But over the course of the season, the Knicks have taken on Thibodeau’s style and personality. The Knicks play hard, tough, and play great defense. The Knicks are currently six games over .500 and have the fourth-best defensive rating in the league.

Nash is deserving of the Coach of the Year award in a vacuum, but he may be facing an uphill battle. The surprise seasons from the Suns and Knicks only limits his chances of winning the award.

However, the job that Nash has done this year should not be forgotten or dismissed, and has been instrumental to why the Nets have the best record in the Eastern Conference.