Steve Nash pulled Nic Claxton to the facet earlier than Nets observe this week and relayed the story of a Hall of Fame participant who by no means received a NBA title regardless of coming so shut so many occasions.
His title is Steve Nash.
“He told me he’s been to the conference finals four times throughout his career,” Claxton stated, “and this is my second year in the league, and I’m in the rotation [for a championship favorite]. I definitely don’t take any of this for granted.”
Nash’s enjoying profession simply parallels that of Nets stars James Harden and Blake Griffin — two perennial All-Stars chasing that first championship ring on their third completely different crew — however his journey is a cautionary story to everybody within the rotation for the crew he coaches. There aren’t an infinite variety of alternatives.
“We’re all kind of a product of our experiences, so it is inevitable whether it’s conscious or subconscious that my experiences will kind of dictate how I see and respond to the playoffs,” Nash stated.
“While I’m not going to necessarily make straight lines from everything that happened to me to this group, you are influenced by what’s happened to you, and you try to take as much of that forward. That’s where the knowledge and wisdom comes from.”
Nash was an eight-time All-Star and two-time MVP throughout his first 16 seasons as a level guard with the Mavericks and Suns. Four occasions Nash’s groups misplaced within the convention finals, together with as soon as as a No. 1 seed (2005) and twice to the Lakers. So, he joined forces with Kobe Bryant late in his profession hoping to lastly recover from the hump with the Lakers, nevertheless it didn’t occur.
Sure, Nash bought a style of the Promised Land as a participant improvement marketing consultant for the Warriors throughout his first 5 years after retirement, however that’s not the identical stage of contribution and camaraderie. Even teaching isn’t the identical as enjoying, so it’s not a redemption quest. Just a probability to make one thing constructive out of previous heartbreak.
“I think it’s a little bit different,” Nash stated. “For me, I’m here to see these guys succeed and try to give them the best opportunity to play their best basketball and go as far as they can and try to win a championship. That is something I find a lot of reward in and motivates me to work hard and to lead this group.”
The Nets will have the talent advantage in each playoff collection. But will Nash present an edge in opposition to extra skilled counterparts in shut video games when it comes to pulling the strings for substitution patterns, timeout utilization and different areas the place coaches make a distinction? He handed the regular-season check juggling 37 completely different lineups by way of accidents.
“It’s not really black and white. It’s kind of gray. There’s an art and science to it all,” Nash stated. “I also want to be adaptable and willing to understand my group may not represent the experiences I have. You have to be ready to put your team in its best position to be flying on all cylinders at the right moment.”
The Celtics’ Brad Stevens has 73 video games of playoff expertise — and that pales in comparison to the 76ers’ Doc Rivers (180). Then once more, neither of them earned the respect of his veteran gamers by going head-to-head on the courtroom as gamers — as Nash did dealing with Kevin Durant, Harden and Griffin within the Western Conference meat-grinder through the years.
“You never know how coaches are going to be, let alone first-time head coaches, and I think the thing that impressed me the most is his poise for being such a young head coach,” Griffin stated. “I feel like poise is one of those things that you learn and develop over time at your position. He has a game plan. He has a message to relay to us.”
Nash used clichés to describe the playoffs — “lights are brightest” and “everyone raises their level a bit” — however they ring true from his mouth. He upped his profession averages from the common season to the playoffs in factors (14.3 to 17.3), assists (8.5 to 8.8) and rebounds (3.0 to 3.5) per sport.
“He is great about picking the things to get on us about,” Griffin stated. “You can’t control everything, you can’t stop everything, but I think as a former player that’s now coaching, you sort of have that mindset. And I think that serves the team well especially in playoff situations where you’re playing against some of the best players and they’re going score, but you can’t overreact. You’ve got to be smart about that.”