The Brooklyn Nets will enter the 2021-22 NBA season as one of the heavy favorites to walk away with the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end. However, in order to do so, it will take more than ball-handling and perimeter skills to achieve that goal. The question the Nets must answer early on is, who will lead this team?
Will the Nets bet the house on Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, or new coach Steve Nash? To be fair, Irving and Durant have rings to boost their claim and Nash has the veteran experience as a floor general to back up his claim. So, who does it go to?
Before any practice has taken place, Irving and Durant may have already staked their claim as leaders or even a coach. In an interview, Irving had this to say about where the Nets will find themselves in terms of coaching.
I don’t really see us having a head coach,” Irving said on Durant’s new podcast, “The Etcs.” “KD could be a head coach, I could be a head coach [some days].”
Right there, that says a lot, and right there, is a reason the Brooklyn Nets may not reach their potential. Regardless of how great of a player you are, you must concede to your coach. As great as Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan were, they both knew to listen to Phil Jackson. Durant and Irving are top 10 players in the league but neither is considered a coach. Nash has never been a head coach but his basketball IQ qualifies him for the job. Well, at least some believe it does.
Even if that’s not true, Irving put his foot in his mouth and by doing so, may have drawn a line in the sand between Nash and the players. Irving and Durant are both outspoken players and their words may hold some weight. But a glance over this Nets team and we will see that they have performed better with Irving on the bench.
For a first-time head coach to take on the strong personalities of two headstrong and gifted players before the first practice, says plenty about the obstacles the Brooklyn Nets will face this coming season. It’s already enough pressure trying to figure out who will take the last shot, but now, Nash must figure out if his own players will respond to him.
I think a lot of people may question our leadership, overall or just us two,” Durant said. “But when me and Ky talked about being coached every single day, I think that’s leading by example and I think a lot of our teammates are gonna follow that.
This is not something the Brooklyn Nets need. Nash could already be at odds with his two stars and if the front office does not step in and stand behind their new coach, things could get worse. In all fairness, there is only one coach on this team and that’s who the organization must stand behind. Steve Nash is their guy. He’s the coach and at the end of the day, the players must respect that.