Steve Kerr knows exactly what awaits Steve Nash.
Like Nash, Kerr was hired, without prior coaching experience, by a win-now franchise. That was in 2014, before Kerr led the Warriors to three titles. Now Nash is following in his footsteps, taking over as the Nets’ coach after a Hall of Fame playing career.
“Yeah, he’ll be fine,” Kerr told The Athletic. “He knows the drill. He’s been in the league forever and he knows the game as well as anybody and he understands people.”
Kerr would know. When he was the general manager of the Suns, Nash was one of his players. Over the past five years, the 46-year-old Nash has served as a consultant with the Warriors, building a strong bond with current Nets star Kevin Durant. Nash never left the game after his retirement, working as the general manager of the Canadian National Team in addition to his role with the Warriors.
“His communication skills are off the charts because of his humility and confidence and his knowledge,” Kerr said. “He just has a really unique approach to training that he developed over the course of his career. And [current Warriors director of sports medicine and performance and longtime Nash associate] Rick Celebrini sort of developed their philosophy as they went, as Steve was playing and they kind of built this whole program together.
“It’s all connected, the weight room and the training room and the court. And Steve is living proof of how important a program like that can be, where your body is really in tune with your mind, your balance, your coordination. You’re working on some things that maybe aren’t traditional basketball practices.”
The hiring wasn’t traditional, either, particularly for a franchise most think can compete for a title next year. Experienced coaches, like Tyronn Lue and Mark Jackson, were available. Of course, the Warriors’ hiring of Kerr wasn’t traditional, and that has worked out very well.
“I think he’s very wise, so he’ll hire a good staff,” Kerr said of Nash. “And everything that he needs to learn, he’ll learn quickly. It’ll happen so quickly for him just to get the rhythm and the feel and I’m sure he’ll hire a great staff to help him along.”