The Nets hired Steve Nash to coach Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Stunning in a sense that I figured the Nets would hire Mark Jackson, Tyronn Lue, or interim coach Jacque Vaughn. I never thought Gregg Popovich coming to Brooklyn was realistic. After Jason Kidd flopped as Nets head coach the first time, there was no need for part two.

It’s easy to have doubts about this hire. For one thing, it’s the Nets. Any head coach they hire turns out to be a bust with the exception of Chuck Daly and Byron Scott. Second of all, pairing a rookie head coach to coach two egomaniacs in Durant and Irving could be a train wreck in the making.

Let’s face it: this hire could go two ways only. It could go great or awful.

From my perspective, the Nets hired the right kind of guy.

Does that mean he will succeed? Who knows? What Nash has going for him is Durant. There’s no question the Nets star offered his seal of approval of this hire or else he would not have been hired.

Kevin Durant

For Durant, trust matters. He trusts him based on Nash’s work as a Warriors consultant. Remember the former point guard worked with him in practice a lot, and he credited his new head coach for making him better as a player in practice. No doubt this endorsement made it easy for Nets owner Joseph Tsai and Nets general manager Sean Marks to sign off on this hiring.

Durant wanted a head coach that he wanted to work well as any other superstars. In the NBA, a partnership of a head coach and stars must exist for this to work out. It would have been pointless if the Nets hired a coach that their star would not know about. Familiarity makes it all work since Nash and Durant know what to expect from each other. Since Nash has Durant’s blessing, this could work.

Kyrie Irving

As for how Nash handles Irving, this becomes interesting. Hard to believe anyone can handle him. LeBron James, Brad Stevens, and Lue tried their best to no avail. Then Nets-coach Kenny Atkinson gave the Nets point guard the responsibility to run his offense, and he couldn’t work well with his teammates.

Maybe Durant can be that guy by being an extension of Nash. If that does not work, Irving likely may be playing elsewhere after next season.

Nash played the position, so Irving may relate to him. They can speak the same language of how to operate as a point guard. After all, the new Nets head coach is one of the best point guards that ever played the game. If that does not offer gravitas, what does for the mercurial Nets point guard?

Photo: Jeff Swinger/USA Today Sports

For those that say Nash must make it work, I say the opposite. Irving needs to because at some point he has to stop his reputation of being a coach-killer. If he can’t make it work, Durant won’t have a problem seeing him go mainly because he and Nash are more in cahoots than he and Irving. Remember Nash is more of Durant’s guy than Irving since Durant at least worked with Nash while the Nets point guard can’t say the same.

Nash should work well with Marks. He doesn’t seem like a guy that aims to usurp power the way Kidd aimed to do with then-Nets general manager Billy King. Those two plan to collaborate well. Plus, it helps both have played together during the golden era of Suns basketball back in 2006, so they have an idea of what winning basketball is and knowing how to put on a good product.

For those that say Nash doesn’t have coaching experience, Steve Kerr did not, either and he managed to do okay with the Warriors with two championships and four NBA Finals appearances to show for it as an NBA head coach. Larry Bird did not, and he did well as a Pacers coach with one NBA Finals appearance to show for it.

Unlike football and hockey, basketball is all about the players and how coaches work well with them together. Nash may have that to his advantage. We will see. He earned respect for what he did as an NBA player.

All Nash has to do is win the room and players take care of the rest. Sounds simple, but it’s going to be easy to do. Somehow, Nash strikes me as a guy who can do it.
Say this about this hire: It will have eyeballs on the Nets this season more than ever.

Featured Image: Jeff Swinger/USA Today Sports
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