The Brooklyn Nets are one of the most interesting teams heading into the 2020-21 NBA season. Along with finally unveiling the marquee tandem of superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the season will also feature the head coaching debut of Hall-of-Fame point guard Steve Nash.
In a recent interview, though, Nash revealed one more factor that will certainly add more excitement to the star-studded squad: they’re going to play like his run-and-gun Phoenix Suns team from the mid to late 2000s.
“We want to play an uptempo style. We want to push the ball in transition and play in the open court, and in the half-court we want to make quick decisions, space the floor, take advantage of our playmaking and shooting … We have some centers that are vertical threats, so we can really put pressure on people above the rim, but also stretch them and make the court big and difficult to cover.
I definitely think there’ll be similarities [with the ‘Seven Seconds or Less’ Phoenix Suns], but I also think clearly the way we played in Phoenix is very common in today’s game.”
Nash and the ‘Seven Seconds or Less’ Suns, as the system was famously coined, were one of the fastest and deadliest offenses of its time. For six-straight seasons (2004-05 to 2009-10), Phoenix led the league in points, finished inside the top 4 in assists, and also paced everyone in threes made or three-point percentage.
Though a couple of high-powered offenses had emerged before them, those Suns teams were arguably the purest pre-cursors to the brand of basketball we see today – spacing was all over the floor, threes were taken at a higher rate, and shots were getting taken as fast as possible, hence the nickname.
Will it work with the Nets’ personnel?
With the guys they have, it can be easy to assume that they can, especially since Durant has done it with great success while with the Golden State Warriors. The supporting cast is also a collection of players that fit the mold, such as playmaker Spencer Dinwiddie, swingman scorer Caris LeVert, sharpshooter Joe Harris, ‘3 and D’ forward Taurean Prince, and hustling guard Landry Shamet. Defensive and good-rebounding bigs Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan are also keys to help jumpstart the transition.
However, let’s not forget that a point guard who’s truly willing to distribute the ball and sacrifice scoring opportunities are also a requirement, which, at the very least, is questionable with a ‘shoot first’ PG like Irving. It becomes an even bigger concern if we take into account how often Irving has clashed with his former coaches – Mike Brown, Brad Stevens, David Blatt, and Kenny Atkinson, who got fired last season after doing a stellar job in the 2018-19 season.
Well, we shall soon see. It should be interesting to see it unfold. For now, there’s no denying all the talent packed within the Nets’ core, both on the roster and the coaching staff. Keep in mind that outside of Nash, Brooklyn has also employed Nash’s Suns cohorts as assistants, namely his All-Star teammate Amare Stoudemire and their coach, Mike D’Antoni.