New York Notes: Nash, Woodson, Larry Greer, Draft

Steve Nash‘s former coach in Phoenix believes he’ll be successful in his new role as head coach of the Nets, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who revolutionized the game with Nash when they were together in Phoenix, believes the Hall of Fame point guard has the background to handle the challenge of running a team.

“He worked as hard as anybody I’ve seen in basketball to get ready in basketball. Even when he broke his leg in LA, no one outworked him,” D’Antoni said. “He’ll do the same as a coach. He knows basketball. It’s a pretty good formula for success.”

Like most observers, D’Antoni was surprised that Nash was interested in coaching. Since retiring as a player, he has overseen the Canadian men’s basketball team and worked as a player-development consultant for the Warriors, but never publicly indicated that he wanted to be a coach.

“I didn’t know he wanted to coach,” D’Antoni said. “He’s got a great basketball mind. I know he loves basketball. So it doesn’t surprise me. But it’s interesting.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Nash also gets an endorsement from former teammate Jared Dudley, who tells Sam Amick of The Athletic that the Nets found a coach who knows how to relate to players. “I think that when you’re looking outside the box, you have to bring someone in (who has) the respect factor with the superstars,” Dudley said. “That’s what it is now. And someone with a creative mind. That’s the test. It’s a test for any person who might have been a star, or one thing, and now you’re in a different role.”
  • Mike Woodson‘s return to New York after an absence of more than six years became official this morning, notes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Woodson, who led the Knicks to their last playoff appearance in 2013, joins Tom Thibodeau’s staff as an assistant. The team waited to make the announcement until former Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant was eliminated from the playoffs. Berman hears that Larry Greer, brother of new assistant coach Andy Greer, may also join the organization. He was an assistant with the Suns before the hiatus and worked with new Thibodeau in Minnesota.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes a look at the Knicks‘ draft options and examines three scenarios: players with upside, immediate help and low-risk options.
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