Pre-season is here and none of his healthy players will be resting for Steve Nash. Altogether it will be a limited run for his three stars in the hope that everyone is healthy and that a transition from training camp will follow.
Nets head coach Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant, and Nick Claxton will start for the pre-season opener. Although Nash puts on a favorable start to the fives for a regular season start, the minutes load for the stars will be low — “somewhere in the 15-20 minute range,” Nash said.
The challenge for Nash is to provide the Nets’ Big 3 – Simmons, Irving and Durant – with enough opportunities to begin building cohesion in the limited supply without overburdening them. In his opinion, he wants to take advantage of the time the trio spends on the court while making sure all three come out healthy in the unofficial competition.
“You know, it’s great to take advantage of the opportunity for these guys to play together and continue to develop an understanding between them; but you certainly don’t want to overdo it. You know, the goal here is for everyone to land safely on opening night, and if they can get a bunch of minutes together, That’s a bonus,” Nash stated. “So we’ll try to find a great place out there where they get these actors together. But at the same time, we didn’t over-check the set at least before opening night.”
Although it’s a prep contest under a Brooklyn roof and one that won’t feature Philadelphia’s stars, it might be a good idea for Simmons to put the game against his former team behind him. In Nash’s eyes, he doesn’t know if it still affects Simmons on his way to the contest.
“Why not? That’s probably a question for Ben, but some guys love it, some don’t care. I think we all get affected by that differently,” Nash said.
When Sixers Head coach, Doc Rivers was asked to consider training Simmons, and he quickly replied, “I don’t now. I’m more focused on us.”
Unlike in Brooklyn, Doc Rivers isn’t risking his co-stars and main role players on Monday night, with James Harden, Joel Embiid, PJ Tucker and Danielle House starring as the Sixers.
Expectations for Nash’s players and coaching staff are light in the season opener. The Nets coach simply wants to see the bootcamp move and put in a full effort on both ends of the floor.
“I just want to see them do the things we’ve been working on for the week, and start building both ends of the floor,” Nash said of his season opener predictions. “Pre-season is more important for us than a lot of clubs because we didn’t play together. A lot of the players in our squad are either new or didn’t play due to injury last year. So it’s a good opportunity for us to continue training for all the things we worked on and prepare for opening night.”
With all things considered, the Nets infused a new offense into their training camp – an offense that could bear similarities but also one that the Nets coach sees as different. Brooklyn wasn’t able to show his attacking full force last season due to major injuries that happen sporadically throughout the regular season, but Nash added deeper layers. All in all, we’ll be able to see glimpses of that new crime tonight.
“Yes, we have,” Nash said. “I think last year was such a challenge for us with the different teams — you know, (with) James, without James, no Joe, obviously Kevin got injured, Keri didn’t get vaccinated. It’s very difficult to run the same things throughout the year. “And so there were different parts of our season that sparked kind of different things. And so we never really got a lot of continuity or went into deeper layers of our offensive understanding. So I think that’s kind of positive of clearing the record and doing some new things and new concepts and starting to Put the common things first, so to speak.