Steve Nash and James Harden played under coach Mike D’Antoni. His influence can be seen in how Nash coaches the Brooklyn Nets and Harden orchestrating the offense at the point. However, the similarities between Steve and James go beyond the basketball court.
James Harden on Steve Nash: "We are twins"
It’s rare to see a superstar refer to his coach as a twin, but that is precisely the word used by Harden when talking about Nash. If someone asked you to name players similar to Harden or Nash, you'd probably name a lot of other guys first. Here's why Harden thinks he is the modern-day Steve Nash.
“We are twins. We’re just different colors. He sees the game at a different level. Like summertime, he calls me, I call him and we’re just talking about how can we be better. He just has that constant communication with me like I know you saw this, but maybe look at this next time. Just things like that to where somebody has a second eye all the time of what’s going on and things that I can do better, and ultimately, that’s going to better our team.”
James Harden, The Athletic
The connection cannot be denied. When Harden plays, the Nets’ record is 29-7, regardless if he’s with Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. The vision of Nash is perfectly translated on the floor when The Beard is running the show for Brooklyn. His addition to the team brought concern about who would play the point guard spot, but the record speaks for itself. The Nets are 22-25 when Irving plays without James, while Brooklyn is 7-2 when Harden plays without Kyrie.
Mike D’Antoni’s influence evident
D’Antoni engineered one of the best high-octane offenses in the NBA when he was coaching the Phoenix Suns. He was also responsible for the unorthodox but successful offense he implemented as head coach of the Houston Rockets. In Houston, he achieved a 217–101 win-loss in four years. Houston made the playoffs for four straight years, and Harden won his MVP with D'Antoni as his coach.
The system that D’Antoni implements relies heavily on the point guard’s skills and instincts in running the offense. Nash and Harden are both excellent shooters and can read what the defense is throwing at them. The Suns and the Rockets with Steve and James are fun to watch because of the unpredictability of what might happen next. It made both players MVPs and superstars in the league.
The Nets hope that the familiarity between Steve Nash and James Harden translates to winning a championship this year. Even without Kyrie, they are the favorites to do so.