Kevin Durant and Steve Nash side by side
Is Steve Nash the right head coach for the Nets?
If you look at the end result of Brooklyn’s first-round series against the Boston, it’s a fair question to ask. The Nets – with a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – couldn’t win a game against the Celtics.
Durant shot 39 percent during the series – the third lowest field goal percentage among his 30 playoff series. Outside of Game 1, Irving was relatively quiet.
The players shoulder responsibility for their performances, but over the course of a playoff series, the between-game and in-game adjustments from a coaching staff are crucial.
So it’s natural to look at the results and question the performance by Nash and his staff. But if you look a little deeper into the numbers, it seems as if the in-series adjustments led to solid offense from the Nets.
Brooklyn averaged 115 points per 100 possessions in the series. That’s one point better than their regular season offensive rating. And it’s nine points higher than the Celtics’ defensive rating in the regular season, which was the best in the NBA.
The Nets were hurt on defense. Their 119.2 defensive rating over the course of the series was seven points higher than their regular season mark. Turnovers also crippled Brooklyn. Sixteen percent of their possessions ended in turnovers in the series. That would have been the second-highest turnover percentage in the NBA over the course of the regular season. The Nets averaged five fewer possessions per game against Boston than they’d averaged in the regular season.
Nash referenced some of these issues when he was asked about trying to get Durant open looks against Boston. He said the Celtics’ commitment to switching on screens and their size created a unique challenge.
“They have size at every position, so they can switch. They can sit in their zone,” he said. “I know it’s not technically a zone but that’s what it is when they halt a team’s actions, switch everything and then you are left to try to beat someone off the dribble and they’re packed in. That is the mechanism that presents different…