On Wednesday, the Nets officially introduced Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash as their new head coach. The 46-year-old, who has no prior coaching experience, will try to get Brooklyn to the NBA Finals with a healthy roster next season.
The Nets’ new head coach spoke about his lack of experience and the criticism he’s received at his introductory press conference. “Well, I did skip the line, frankly,” Nash said (h/t Tim Bontemps of ESPN). “But at the same time, I think leading an NBA team for almost two decades is pretty unique. So while I haven’t necessarily learned some of the skills that I’ll definitely seek to understand and learn as far as the technical aspects of coaching, I was never far from that.”
Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
- Jacque Vaughn, who was the Nets’ interim coach after the team fired Kenny Atkinson in March, will be staying with the organization as Nash’s lead assistant. Despite missing many notable players down in the bubble, Vaughn had the Nets playing hard in the seeding games and playoffs. That effort did not go unnoticed by Nash, who is excited to work with Vaughn. “I think Jacque’s qualities speak for themselves,” Nash said (h/t Nets Daily). “He is an incredibly high character individual, extremely hard-working, prepared, and he is an all-around top human being so to have people like that to work with every day is incredible.”
- Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has returned to the bubble in Orlando and is in quarantine until Friday, per Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Hayward suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain in the first round of the playoffs last month against the Sixers. While the veteran forward’s return timeline is unclear and his quarantine period isn’t over, he’s allowed to leave his room once per day for exercise and rehab, according to Washburn.
- Before the Sixers hire a new head coach, they need to address their front office issues, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. As previously reported, multiple league sources do not expect Alex Rucker, who is the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations, to return next season. Pompey adds that Rucker played a role behind-the-scenes in decision-making as the team leaned heavily on analytics. In addition to Rucker, assistant general manager Ned Cohen and VP of strategy Sergi Oliva were reportedly also involved in decision-making. There has been nothing as of yet on the futures of Cohen and Oliva.