Kevin Durant Endorses Steve Nash as Nets Head Coach: He's 'Been Dealt a Crazy Hand'

Erin WalshApril 26, 2022

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 17: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets and Head Coach Steve Nash look on against the Boston Celtics during Round 1 Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 17, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs, and while some are blaming head coach Steve Nash for the team's struggles, Kevin Durant believes he should return for the 2022-23 season.

"Come on, man. Yeah," Durant told reporters Monday night when asked if Nash was still the right person to coach the team. "Steve has been dealt a crazy hand the last two years, he's been having to deal with so much stuff as a head coach for the first time, COVID, trades. I'm proud of his passion for us."

Nets Videos @SNYNets

Kevin Durant gives his vote of confidence in having Steve Nash remain as the Nets' head coach:<br><br>"Steve has been dealt a crazy hand the last 2 years" <a href="https://t.co/OM07pHojxo">pic.twitter.com/OM07pHojxo</a>

Durant's comments come after NBA insider Marc Stein reported before Game 4 that the four-time scoring champion still supported Nash as head coach and that Nash was unlikely to be fired if Boston swept Brooklyn.

Stein wrote:

"My personal sense is that Nets owner Joe Tsai is far too impulsive and unpredictable to read in terms of how he'll react to a lopsided first-round ouster. Nash landed the Nets' job with no prior coaching experience largely because he had the backing of Kevin Durant as well as the gravitas to manage a team built around the mercurial Durant and Kyrie Irving. There is no evidence in circulation—yet—to suggest that Nash is in some sort of jeopardy ... as long as he retains the support of Tsai and (more importantly) Durant."

To be fair, Durant is probably correct in saying Nash had to deal with a lot in his second season behind the bench.

For starters, he had to deal with having one of his best players in Kyrie Irving being unable to play at home for most of the season. Due to Irving not being in compliance with New York City's then-COVID-19 vaccine mandate for local professional athletes, the veteran point guard was ineligible to play at home until late in the regular season.

Having Irving unavailable didn't do the team any favors in building chemistry or consistency, as the lineup was different on the road and at home.

Nash also had to work through the fact that another one of his best players, Durant, missed more than one month with a knee injury. The team went 5-16 in his absence, including 11 straight losses from January 23 to February 12.

In addition, Nash had to deal with a significant roster shake-up with James Harden being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. That certainly didn't help the team's chemistry and consistency issues. In addition, Simmons didn't play a single game for the franchise this year.

Nash is 92-62 in his two seasons in Brooklyn and 7-9 in the playoffs. If the Nets collapse next season with him behind the bench, it might be time for the franchise to consider other coaching options. For now, it seems they're willing to give him another shot.