Steve Nash hoping for ‘player-led’ fix to Nets’ struggling defense

If one recreation broke in another way final June, the Nets may be attempting to defend an NBA title.

Instead the Nets nonetheless try to show they will defend … anybody in any respect.

Six of the Nets’ final 9 opponents have eclipsed their season scoring common by buying and selling baskets in shootouts with the score-first duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. It’s a harmful method to depend on within the upcoming playoffs, which is why coach Steve Nash is hoping workforce leaders sense a problem that wants correcting after the Nets allowed 119 factors to the Hornets and 123 to the lowly Pistons during the last two video games.

“It’s always most effective when it’s player-led,” Nash mentioned. “They’re going to hear me say it over and over every day. When they push each other for more, you’ll see the defense improve some. We’re going to stay on them … but I think there is an element to it that is when they decide they’re going to defend and do it internally they’ll be exponentially better than if they have to listen to me every day.”

For proof of Nash’s where-there’s-a-will-there’s-a-way stance, it appears the Nets’ defensive depth rises with the extent of their opponent. In video games during the last three weeks, the Hornets, Knicks, Trail Blazers and Pistons all have shot higher percentages from the ground than the title-contending 76ers, Mavericks, Jazz and Heat.

Six of Brooklyn's last nine opponents have eclipsed their season scoring average by trading baskets in shootouts with Nets superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Six of Brooklyn’s final 9 opponents have eclipsed their season scoring common by buying and selling baskets in shootouts with Nets superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Which model of the NBA’s No. 22-ranked defense (by score) will present up Thursday night time in opposition to the defending-champion Bucks at Barclays Center? Another 123 allowed is enjoying with fireplace.

“I don’t think it’s ever good for a team to score that many points in a basketball game,” middle Andre Drummond mentioned after the Pistons (ranked No. 28 in scoring) topped their common by practically 19 factors. “For us, buckling down defensively from the beginning of the game and not waiting until the second half [is the solution] because it can come bite us in the butt and we won’t be able to come back.”

Whereas Irving agreed with Nash’s plea for the Nets to play with extra “edge” and put the onus on gamers to “make it our emphasis on the defensive end,” critics are wanting on the second-year head coach. And they aren’t forgiving the Nets for not having Landry Shamet — whose defense has gone to one other stage since he was traded to the Suns within the offseason — or stopper Ben Simmons, who has but to make his Nets’ debut after the Feb. 10 commerce.

“I think their offensive power can make up for their lack of defensive abilities to a degree. It doesn’t get you over the hump,” ESPN analyst Jay Williams mentioned Wednesday on “First Take.” “What occurs is we find yourself not shining the sunshine on the individual that has to make this occur: Steve Nash.

“There are a lot of scouts and coaches who don’t feel like Steve Nash is great at in-game adjustments. To me, over the next two months, I want to see what kind of junk he throws out there. We know your team isn’t one of the best defensively … but now it’s time to show us what’s in your bag.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash speaks with Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter.
Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash speaks with Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets in the course of the fourth quarter.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Durant didn’t sound as involved, treating the Pistons’ six 3-pointers within the first quarter as an aberration. Eight of the NBA’s 13 most effective offenses (excluding the Nets) are within the Eastern Conference playoff bracket.

“It’s good for us to go through periods like that, because there’s going to be times in the playoffs when teams get hot unexpectedly — and see how we weather the storm,” Durant mentioned. “So it’s a good test for us, and I like it no matter if we’re playing the Pistons or the Bucks. I think the situation we got better from, we evolved as the game went on, regardless of the opponent.”


The Nets recalled rookie guard Day’Ron Sharpe from the G-League. He averaged 6.2 factors and 5 rebounds in 32 video games, together with eight begins, for the Nets earlier this season. He posted a recreation with 30 factors and 22 boards for the Long Island Nets this month.

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