As Steve Nash prepares to embark on the challenge of his first season as an NBA head coach, he says he plans on focusing on his strengths as a relationship builder while playing catch up on the X's and O's aspect of his new job.
"I wasn't hired to come in and be a tactical wizard. I think they understand that my acumen for the game is strong, and I can catch up on the technical aspects," Nash said on the Old Man and the Three podcast. "I think they hired me because I have the experience and the personality to work with these guys and to be able to help them grow, reach their potential and bring it all together."
The Nets hired Nash despite him having no previous coaching experience—aside from a part-time gig with the Golden State Warriors—earlier this month. The team made Jacque Vaughn the highest-paid assistant in the NBA to help Nash with the tactical areas of the game, drawing some parallels to when the same franchise hired Jason Kidd and installed Lawrence Frank as his assistant seven years ago.
Nash offered some hints to his planned coaching style, saying the "authoritarian" way of doing things is "long gone." He said his approach to players will be to be "cold and analytical" when it comes to data and film but to keep a familial relationship on a personal level.
"There's levels to this. You're not going to treat every player the same, but there has to be a standard, an understanding, a system of beliefs and behaviors," Nash said. "Getting us to have that standard has to be a common and clear and simple message."
The "levels" to which Nash refer clearly belong to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the stars who played an instrumental role in him coming to Brooklyn. Irving and Durant became the two most important faces in that franchise's history the moment they arrived, so having a level of collaboration will be necessary for Nash's success as a coach as well.