Kristian Winfield: Steve Nash says he'll give Nets the creative freedom they need to succeed on the court

By Kristian Winfield, New York Daily News on

Published in Basketball

NEW YORK — Steve Nash was quizzed about what his team's offense will look like this season during a virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday.

"It's all sort of to be determined," the new Nets head coach said.

Nash said he doesn't want to get bogged down with too many hard and fast concepts and designs.

"I'd much rather come in with principles, with ideas that allow our players to collaborate with us and allow their personalities and the dynamic between them and the chemistry to have a role in how it evolves," he said.

In short, he's going to give Nets players what Kenny Atkinson could not: creative freedom.

That was the sticking point that got Atkinson ousted, the inability to be malleable, to listen to his stars and build a system that reflected their wishes. He ultimately lost his locker room after failing to adjust over the course of the season.


According to Nash, that was part of Mike D'Antoni's genius.

Yes, D'Antoni — the former Rockets, Suns and Knicks coach who has been linked to a potential assistant role in Brooklyn — is known for the Seven Seconds or Less Phoenix offense that reimagined modern-day basketball. But Nash said that offensive scheme was a byproduct of the relationship D'Antoni had with his players.

The same can be said of coaches like Gregg Popovich and Erik Spoelstra, basketball minds who tailor a system to the strengths and needs of their players, not confine their players to an antiquated system.

"People talk about the Phoenix teams I played on and this sort of revolutionary tone of how it impacted the game, but the truth be told, Mike D'Antoni's brilliance in much of that was he allowed it to evolve instead of getting in the way," he said. "I feel like a lot of coaches feel the need to design every aspect of something, and I feel you leave too much on the table that can be found through the personalities, the connectivity, the dynamic on the floor and in the room."


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