Steve Nash 'Confident' in Nets Coaches After Mike D'Antoni, Ime Udoka Hires

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, left, listens to assistant coach Ime Udoka, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 97-91. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets officially announced the hiring of Ime Udoka, Mike D'Antoni and Amar'e Stoudemire as assistant coaches on Steve Nash's staff Friday. 

In a press release provided by the team, Nash expressed excitement and confidence in his staff:

"We've assembled an experienced staff of high-character individuals with varied backgrounds, both on and off the court, that will help create a solid foundation for me and our players. When I set out to build this staff, I wanted to put together a committed group that would connect with our players and help put them in the best position to succeed as a team. With coaching and playing experience at the highest level and a deep background in player development, I'm confident that we've put the right people in place to lead us forward."

Udoka spent the past season as an assistant coach with the 76ers after seven years on the San Antonio Spurs staff.

The 43-year-old played professionally for 12 seasons, with stints in the NBA, G League, IBA and USBL as well as in leagues in Spain, France and Argentina.

After serving a variety of roles with the Spurs, including two years as a Summer League coach, Udoka was brought to Philadelphia especially to help the defense.

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Over the past year, the 76ers jumped from No. 14 in defensive efficiency to No. 8 in 2019-20. The team finished ninth in steals per game after ranking 19th the year before.

The success helped Udoka gain attention for positions around the league. Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, he was a candidate for the Nets' head coaching position before they hired Nash. He also interviewed for the open position with the New York Knicks.

Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic listed Udoka as a Bulls' candidate in April after the team hired Marc Eversley as general manager, saying the coach is "respected for how he thinks the game and his ability to relate to today’s players."

Joining Udoka on Nash's staff is D'Antoni, who spent the previous four seasons as head coach of the Houston Rockets and was Nash's head coach when he was a player in stints with the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers.

D'Antoni coached Nash during his two MVP seasons and James Harden when he won MVP with the Rockets in 2018, which bodes well for his ability to get the most out of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

The 69-year-old D'Antoni also had head coaching stints with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks, and he led teams to the playoffs 10 times as a head coach.

Stoudemire is new to the coaching ranks, as he played professionally overseas in recent years after a 14-year NBA career with the Suns, Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.

He was a six-time All-Star who played alongside Nash and under D'Antoni when they were all part of the Suns organization.