The main argument for hiring Steve Nash was his emotional intelligence and ability to manage expectations and all the egos in the locker room. When we said that, we were referring to KD and Kyrie. Since then, the Nets added James Harden, Blake Griffin, and most recently, LaMarcus Aldrige. Suddenly, a team that traded Jarrett Allen and relied on KD to be their best 5 now has a jam with players who are, realistically, only 5s.
2016 Blake and LaMarcus would make this team the strongest offensive five in basketball history. But these are 2021 Blake and LaMarcus, guys who are most often described as “calcified.” While Griffin and Aldrige both went through the humbling experience of a buyout, they are still players with a lot of pedigree, and as such, present the most difficult player to coach – a former superstar who still expects at least a part of the superstar treatment. How does Steve Nash expect to manage all those expectations?
“We’ll adjust and adapt as we go and do the best we can to put the team in the best position to win and to grow. What does that mean? I don’t know. It’ll declare itself as we proceed.”Steve Nash, ESPN
You gotta hand it to him; Nash mastered the coach’s non-answer in record time. But the reality is that if everyone is healthy, Griffin’s and Aldrige’s position in crucial playoff minutes will most likely be sitting next to each other on the bench. The Nets’ status this year primarily revolves around Kevin Durant’s health report, and he’s still not ready to go.
“Kevin played 4-on-4 with the guys, and looks good and is progressing. But still needs to be monitored and still needs to get a certain amount of markers under his belt before we can put him in the frame again.”Steve Nash, ESPN
The Nets are understandably extra cautious with KD’s health, and it’s not like their position in the standings has taken a hit since Durant’s been out. But you want Durant to play a handful of regular-season games on limited minutes and slowly integrate him into the lineup to maximize his performance in the playoffs.
Nash said the Nets aren’t worried about that, as there are enough games left in the regular season. More importantly, Durant will return only when assessed to be 100% no matter how many games are left in the season. The sooner, the better, but there will be no rushing of his recovery just to play some games before the playoffs.
While Nash did say that things will “present themselves” to most of the questions about the minutes Aldrige, Griffin, Jordan, Claxton, and Green can expect to play; Nash did give one concrete answer. As much as analytics play a role in deciding who gets to play, they’re not the only factor in his decision-making process.
“It will be a component of our decisions, but there also has to be look and feel, and the human side of it too. Those are things I can only guess how they’ll play out. But we’re excited to have options and depth.”Steve Nash, ESPN
They say winning is the best deodorant. The question is, what happens when someone challenges the Nets in a tight playoff series? As Steve Nash would say – let’s see how it presents itself.