The Brooklyn Nets entered the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs as underdogs against the Boston Celtics, but virtually no one expected Brooklyn’s postseason run to conclude on April 25. That is what transpired, however, as the Nets were unceremoniously swept in four games. Brooklyn was largely competitive in the series, losing the four contests by a grand total of 18 points, but expectations were sky-high for the Nets in 2021-22 and, with the team falling short, many have wondered aloud on the future of head coach Steve Nash. Following the Game 4 loss, Kevin Durant was prompted on the status of his coach, and he gave Nash a vote of confidence.
Durant cited the fact that Nash has been “dealt a crazy hand” as a result of the pandemic and roster moves. From there, he applauded Nash’s passion.
"Do you think that Steve [Nash] is still the right guy to lead this group?"
KD responds here ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/LCor47uFIa
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) April 26, 2022
Kevin Durant, asked if Steve Nash is the right person to lead the group moving forward, reiterates that he feels Nash handled adversity well over course of last two years: “Yeah (Nash is the right person to lead team). Steve’s been dealt a crazy hand the last two years.”
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 26, 2022
Kevin Durant on if Nash is still the right man to coach the #Nets: Come on, man. Yeah. Steve has been dealt a crazy hand the last two years, he's been having to deal with so much stuff as a head coach for the first time, COVID, trades. I'm proud of his passion for us."
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) April 26, 2022
It is undeniably accurate that Nash was working with a flawed roster, even while acknowledging that the Nets’ four-game playoff loss was not fantastic. Brooklyn’s defensive personnel was quite weak, and the Nets navigated a bit of bizarre terrain with regard to the status of Ben Simmons, who has not suited up for his new team to this point.
On the flip side, the head coach is often the first person on the chopping block when a star-led team underachieves. The Nets are clearly keyed by Durant and Kyrie Irving, even to the point where Irving referred to the prospect of “managing the franchise together alongside” Nets owner Joe Tsai and lead executive Sean Marks. Still, a public endorsement from Durant likely lessens the burden on Nash, and that is a favorable datapoint toward his return for 2022-23 and beyond.