Former Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni is finalizing a deal to become an assistant coach with the Nets, reuniting him with Steve Nash. D’Antoni and Nash had success together with the Seven Seconds or Less Offense with the Phoenix Suns that helped Nash win two MVPS. With a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, are the Nets now the most interesting team in the NBA? The Crossover staff answers.
Easily. With respect to Golden State—and Revenge of the Warriors is one of my favorite 2021 themes—Brooklyn will be fascinating to watch. It already was when we were wondering how Kevin Durant meshed with Kyrie Irving, how Durant and Irving meshed with a rising Nets roster, now you throw in an intriguing coaching staff? Irving already ratcheted up the pressure on Steve Nash when he suggested there could be a coach-by-committee approach. Now Mike D’Antoni has been thrown into the mix. D’Antoni won’t be a threat to Nash—the two are close, and D’Antoni isn’t taking this job to overthrow him—but I’m interested to see who will earn the respect in that locker room. Is it Nash, a popular ex-player but a coaching novice? Is it D’Antoni, an experienced hand who navigated the choppy waters of Houston last season? Is it Ime Udoka, a rising coaching in his own right? And how does Sean Marks, the Nets GM, handle all of it? There’s the potential for enormous success in Brooklyn. There could be a lot of drama, too.
Yes ... but that was true before D’Antoni got hired. There will be so many fascinating teams next season. Will the Clippers win a title or start to fall apart? Do the Warriors have another run in them? Can Milwaukee make the Finals and keep Giannis Antetokounmpo? Will LeBron still be the best player in the league and win another title with the Lakers? We could go on. But the Nets are most fascinating because of their three most prominent figures. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are both fighting the perception that they won championships on somebody else’s shoulders. It’s not really true on the court (Durant was the best player on those Warriors teams, and Irving was great in Cleveland) but the NBA is never just about what happens on the court. If Durant leads Brooklyn to a title after rupturing his Achilles tendon, no reasonable person can question his mental toughness again. If Irving is his copilot, he will show he is not just a great finisher and sidekick but a truly elite player. And if Steve Nash helps them get there, he could quickly establish himself as one of the game’s great head coaches. But if Durant and Irving squabble and seem as thin-skinned as they have in the past, the New York media will pounce and it could spiral downward. This is the league’s most interesting team.
The Nets will no doubt be interesting with both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving returning from injury and the franchise entering a new season with title aspirations. Throw in a first-year head coach in Steve Nash and a staff with a number of Seven Seconds or Less Suns participants on it, and the intrigue is even more appealing. But lest we forget which other intriguing move another Atlantic Division team made this week, in the Philadelphia 76ers’ reportedly nearing a deal with Daryl Morey to make him their top basketball executive. Philadelphia now has one of the most innovative and creative basketball executives running a front office that has seen constant turnover for the last few years. Throw in a newly hired head coach, but one with decades of experience in Doc Rivers, and an unusual roster that still has high potential, and I think the 76ers are actually the more interesting franchise. I know no one cares about divisions in the NBA the same way they do in the NFL and in MLB, but the Atlantic is likely the most interesting division in the NBA with the Celtics, Nets, Raptors and 76ers. Oh, and the Knicks are also in the Atlantic Division as well.
Yes. Kevin Durant is going to make his debut on the Nets alongside Kyrie Irving, which will immediately catapult this team into championship contention. And now Mike D'Antoni has been hired as an assistant coach under Steve Nash, reuniting the pair who made famous the "Seven Seconds or Less" offense on the Phoenix Suns from 2004-2008. Those superstars alongside those coaching minds will make for a very exciting basketball team with a speedy, high-powered offense. This team has all of the right pieces to become great.
I believe so. I am excited to see how Golden State performs after a miserable year now that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are both healthy. How will the Clippers adjust after a disappointing postseason? The Lakers have a chance to run it back. But there is just something about the Nets. There are just too many fun story lines. We finally get to see Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the court together. Steve Nash was an interesting pick for head coach, but how much control will he have? Can they make a major move to secure a third superstar like Bradley Beal? What is Caris LeVert’s next step? The Mike D’Antoni hiring definitely makes things a bit more interesting.
It is difficult to determine Brooklyn's full picture before free agency hits, but Steve Nash's new coaching staff adds another layer to what will likely be the most interesting story heading into next season. How will Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving thrive under that leadership? And will they have a third big piece come the start of the season?
Durant and Irving were always going to make the Nets a team to watch, but their intrigue now extends from the roster to the coaching staff. What the team accomplishes in free agency can make for more interest as next season approaches.
There’s no shortage of fascinating teams entering 2020–21, including a former dynasty out West. But it’s hard to choose anyone other than the Nets. Their two superstars are thrilling offensive talents and perhaps equally mercurial personalities, and the Steve Nash experiment adds another layer of intrigue. Add in the potential for a blockbuster trade, and no franchise is as interesting as the Nets as we approach next season.
Easily. Just the curiosity on how Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will look together as teammates was enough. Their, let's say unique, personalities on the big stage in New York and otherwise mix into the equation as well. Not to mention whether KD can return to his status among the very top superstars in the game off an Achilles injury. When you throw in the surprising Steve Nash hire and his reunion with Mike D'Antoni on the staff, you've got yourself a fascinating mix of talent, star power, egos and story lines that make up far and away the most interesting team heading into next NBA season.